A private school in central Delhi locked kindergarten students in its basement for five hours for not having had their fees paid in an incident that has drawn outrage, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to demand a report.
The incident came to light when parents went to the school to take their children back home on Monday and found that they had been confined to the basement since that morning for defaulting on school fees.
It is yet unclear how many students were locked up: although some reports claim there were 59, police say they received 16 complaints so far.
A parent, Muhammad Khalid, condemned the school’s treatment of children.
“Granted, some people could have defaulted in paying school fees but how can the school be so inhuman? The children were crying when we went to pick them up. Imagine the effect it would have on their minds. Such a behaviour is unacceptable.”
Parents claim they wanted to take the issue with school principal, but she didn’t entertain them.
The school however denies having locked the students up, instead claiming they only “separated” those who had their fees paid from those who hadn't, and sent the latter to the activity room for a while. They also claim that parents didn’t clear the dues despite notices.
An FIR has been lodged against the school under sections 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of the Children) Act at Hauz Qazi Police Station.
“We received complaints from parents of 16 children being locked up in the basement. Investigation is on. The school is saying children who had defaulted on paying fee were separated and sent to the activity room that is in the basement. They were kept in proper conditions as per the school. We have called the parents tomorrow,” SHO of the police station said.
Education Minister Manish Sisodia called it highly inhuman on the part of the school to confine little kids in the basement and said tomorrow he and the chief minister are going to visit the school.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has issued notice to the police and education department over confinement of minor girls by the school in Ballimaran.
The commission, taking cognisance of media reports, has sought a fact finding report from the police and the education authorities by July 17 in the case.