Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday blamed the political links of private schools for the murder of a seven-year-old boy at Ryan International School in Gurugram. Sisodia said that during his meeting with officials of private and government schools he understood that crimes in schools were the result of political influence.

Sisodia alleged that while private schools continued to charge high fees, they would now “commit crimes and bury them” because of their links with the Bharatiya Janata Party. “I had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into a drowning incident at Ryan International School in Vasant Kunj one-and-a-half-year ago,” Sisodia told reporters in New Delhi. “At that time, I realised what kind of political pressure was being created. I saw how the school’s management was conducting a drive for membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party among parents.”

The education minister added that if the Centre had initiated a CBI inquiry against Ryan International School in Delhi, the incident at its Gurugram branch could have been avoided.

The minister said that the state government had ordered that all staff in both private and government schools would go through a round of police verification within three weeks. He said that all schools would have to submit information about their staff to the local police station. Sisodia added that the police records of school staff would be updated every month.

“The police officers have said that they have a list of child abusers,” Sisodia said. “Every school has to cross-check the identities of their employees with the list. If any employee is on the list, he or she should be released immediately.” The minister also said that CCTV cameras must be installed in all school classrooms, outside washrooms and in playgrounds.

Tagore Public School rape incident

About the incident at Tagore Public School where a peon allegedly raped a five-year-old girl student inside a toilet, Sisodia said he had asked the magistrate conducting the inquiry not to be afraid. “I have told the magistrate that I do not know which political leader owns the school,” he said. “But he [the magistrate] should not feel he is under any kind of pressure.”

“Prima facie, the information I have received shows that the man who was arrested was a rickshaw-puller, and also worked as a guard at the school, bringing tiffin boxes for the children,” he said. “Schools are closed on second Saturdays, even Municipal Corporation of Delhi schools like this one. But the school was opened on Saturday, and the child was called for tuitions after hours. This shows that there is more to the case than the behaviour of the peon.”

The minister claimed that it was possible that “something had happened” with other children at the school in the past too. Sisodia said the government would “make an example” out of Tagore Public School.