A school has come under fire in India’s capital city of Delhi for giving a pretty bizarre punishment to kindergarten students for something that was not even their fault.
The city’s police have registered a complaint against Rabea Girls' Public School Hauz Qazi where the 16 little girls were allegedly locked up in the basement for five hours because their parents didn’t pay the school fees.
All the detained girls were believed to be between four and six years old.
Reports suggested the students were locked up between 7:30 am and 12:30 pm without any food or water in the extreme heat.
According to the parents, they learnt about the incident when they went to pick up their daughters and didn’t find them in the classroom.
“I dropped my daughter off at school around 7 a.m.When I came to pick her up at 12.30 p.m., I did not find her in her class room. I was informed by the school staff that my daughter has been locked up in the basement. I rushed to the basement where I found my daughter sitting on the floor. All children were confined in a small room under inhumane conditions with no fans and ventilation,” said a parent, Mohammad Asif.
"Children were locked in the basement for not paying the fees. I had cleared the fees, despite that my child was punished. The children were thirsty and were suffering in the heat. Police helped us. Even after I showed the proof of fees clearance, the Principal was not apologetic or remorseful," added another parent.
Subsequently, the principal denied the allegations that the girls were punished during an interaction with a news channel.
“The basement is not a punishment place; it is an activity room where children play and learn music. It is a kind of classroom,” said the principal.
Nevertheless, according to the Hindustan Times, a case was registered under Section 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 75 (cruelty to child) of the Juvenile Justice Act.
“We have sent a notice to the school principal. We will also record the statements of all concerned parents. We will be able to name the people responsible for the children's ordeal after our investigation concludes," said the police.
Even child activist groups in the country took notice of the matter.
Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Anurag Kundu said an inquiry team was set up to get to the root of the issue.
Have just received complaint against Rabia School harassing students for fee non-payment. Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has set up inquiry team. It will visit school & initiate inquiry tomorrow itself. Zero tolerance of violation of dignity of children.— Anurag Kundu (@AnuragKunduAK) July 10, 2018
Will initiate action against erring officials for violation of Right to Education & ensure children's admission within 24 hours. Share mother's contact details privately. Delhi commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Delhi Govt committed to protecting children's rights https://t.co/vQi7QhcHZH— Anurag Kundu (@AnuragKunduAK) July 10, 2018
It is important to note some parents said they already paid the fees, yet their kids were subjected to such horrific punishment.
"Even after I showed the proof, the principal was not apologetic or remorseful," a parent told Indian news website NDTV.
A senior teacher from the institute came forward with an explanation.
“There was confusion over fee submission as the school was not informed by the school administration. It will be clarified with the accounts section. Some parents have not submitted a ‘teacher copy’ to the school and it created the confusion,” said the teacher.
Nevertheless, there’s no way any educational institute could possibly justify doing something so inhumane to such young students for whatever reasons.
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