crimes against children

Gurugram murder: Two more arrests after panel finds security lapses at Ryan International School

Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said the institute had no boundary wall, and that the CCTV cameras installed did not cover the entire campus.

The Gurugram Police on Sunday night arrested the head of the Ryan International Group’s northern zone, Francis Thomas, and the coordinator of the institute’s Bhondsi branch in connection with the murder of a Class 2 student on campus, ANI reported. The Haryana government has ordered all campuses of the Ryan International School in Gurugram to be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

A three-member sub-committee formed by the district administration to investigate the child’s murder had found that the institute had been negligent, The Indian Express reported. Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma had said the CCTV cameras installed inside the school premises did not cover the entire campus and also found that the school had no boundary wall, which made it easy for anyone to enter or exit the premises.

The Class 2 student was found with his throat slit in the school toilet on the morning of September 8. A school bus conductor was arrested later that day for the murder and for allegedly trying to sexually assault the boy before attacking him.

“There is no separate bathroom for the drivers and conductors of the 40 buses, and the windows of the shared toilets were broken,” Sharma said, adding that there was no security guard posted outside the washroom.

Other findings

The report prepared by the Special Investigation Team also noted that school staff did not go through background checks and police verification, NDTV reported. The minister said there were lapses on part of the management, “but the school cannot be de-recognised as the future of 1,200 students is at stake”.

The school administration has denied the allegations of negligence, The Times of India reported. “We request all parties concerned to refrain from holding Ryan School culpable of a crime where it is itself a victim of unfortunate circumstances,” said group Chief Executive Officer Ryan Pinto.

Pinto also requested parents to not turn to violence. On Sunday, angry parents broke the school’s window panes during protests, after which the police resorted to baton charges.

The police arrested 11 people for setting a liquor store, located near the school, on fire on Sunday, ANI reported.

Juvenile Justice Act against school management

The Gurugram Police on Sunday registered a case against the management of Ryan International School under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Gurugram Police Commissioner Sandeep Khirwar said more charges could be added and some could be dropped as the investigation makes progress. “The role of various persons in the school management will be probed with regard to some glaring negligence,” he said.

A special committee is investigating the murder. Besides this, the Central Board of Secondary Education has asked the school to send it a report along with a copy of the FIR that was filed. The board has also set up a two-member fact finding committee to investigate the case.

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