GD Birla School Reopens Today, Principal Relieved of Duties

The WBCPCR has sought Principal Sharmila Nath’s arrest for denying that the 4-year-old girl was sexually assaulted

Updated
India
4 min read
Parents staged protests in front of the school, where a 4-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by two teachers.
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Classes at the GD Birla Centre for Education will resume on Thursday, 7 December, after the school management and guardians reached a settlement over the demand for the removal of the school’s principal in the wake of alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old girl.

A school managing committee spokesman told PTI that the authorities have decided to “relieve” principal Sharmila Nath from her present responsibilities with immediate effect. Legal removal would take more time, he added.

He said classes in the senior section will start from 7 December as agreed in the meeting between the Guardians’ Forum and the management committee.

The junior section classes will start from Friday, he said.

The Principal has been relieved of her responsibilities with immediate effect. ‘Removal’ is a term which entails a long legal process. The vice principal will be the officiating principal from today, 
Spokesperson, Guardians’ Forum

The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) on Monday, 4 December, also sought the arrest of Nath.

Principal Sharmila Nath could have dealt with the matter in a sensible manner, the WBCPCR Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti told PTI.

On the contrary, she (Nath) denied the incident first. Under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, she is also an offender. The arrest of the principal is much needed. I have spoken to the Kolkata Police Commissioner and told him that she must be arrested. 
Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti, WBCPCR chairperson, to PTI

The school announced the decision to restart classes today after Chakraborti said that the commission would initiate legal action against the school management for shutting down the institution indefinitely.

“They (the school management) cannot jeopardise the future of the 7,000 students studying there. We will definitely take legal action against the management of the school for this,” she told PTI. The child rights body chairperson, along with other members of the WBCPCR, visited the GD Birla Centre for Education in south Kolkata on Monday morning.

The WBCPCR has also sought the medical report of the minor from the police.

Two physical training teachers of the school were arrested last week for allegedly sexually abusing the student during school hours.

Angry parents and guardians staged protests outside the school after the incident.

The girl, a nursery student, allegedly narrated the details of her traumatic experience on camera, sources told The Telegraph. Police are set to interrogate the accused – physical education teachers Abhishek Roy and Mohammad Mafisuddin – based on the four-year-old’s video testimony.

This is for the second time that such an incident has happened at GD Birla School. In 2014, a girl student was sexually assaulted and the school authorities didn’t take any action. My wife and I are in a state of shock. My daughter is also very traumatised. I will never send her to (the) school again.
Sexual assault survivor’s father to CNN News-18

Police Complaint Lodged Against School Principal

The father of the victim, on 3 December, lodged a police complaint against the school's principal, claiming that she tried to cover up the issue and indirectly supported the crime.

I have lodged a police complaint against the principal. This is not the first time that such an incident has taken place in her school, it has happened before as well. In spite of knowing the incident, the principal initially did not take any steps against the criminal.
Lawyer, Victim’s Family

"The principal should be arrested because she supported the crime instead of reporting it to the police. She tried to cover up the issue. So she has a role in the crime," she added.

Teachers Arrested For Sexually Assaulting Child

The child was bleeding profusely from her private parts when she returned from school on Thursday, 30 November, according to her father, and she was rushed to a hospital. Preliminary medical reports confirmed sexual abuse, reported CNN News-18.

The girl’s father accused the child’s physical education teacher of allegedly her into the toilet with a chocolate before sexually assaulting her.

Police have arrested Abhishek Ray and Mohammad Mofizuddin under sections 4 and 6 of the POSCO act, reported NDTV. The girl was shown four photos to identify the accused and she identified two people, raising questions about the involvement of more than one person, sources said.

  • 01/02
    Accused Mohammad Mofizuddin(Photo Courtesy: Gurvinder Singh)
    Accused Mohammad Mofizuddin
  • 02/02
    Accused Abhishek Ray(Photo Courtesy: Gurvinder Singh)
    Accused Abhishek Ray

A student from the school told The Quint that girls used the same toilets as the boys in the school.

Damning Submission by Principal: No CCTV Cameras in the School

There are no CCTV cameras inside the school except for one in the school office, Sharmila Nath, Principal of GD Birla Centre for Education said. “Give us some time. I'm assuring all the parents that security is top concern for us”, she told ANI.

In 2014, the school made headlines when a bus assistant was accused of molesting a kindergarten student student.

  • 01/05
    A play was staged against the incident outside the GD Birla Centre for Education.(Photo Courtesy: Gurvinder Singh)
    A play was staged against the incident outside the GD Birla Centre for Education.
  • 02/05
    Parents protest against the incident at GD Birla Centre for Education.(Photo Courtesy: Gurvinder Singh)
    Parents protest against the incident at GD Birla Centre for Education.
  • 03/05
    Parents protest against the incident at GD Birla Centre for Education.(Photo Courtesy: Gurvinder Singh)
    Parents protest against the incident at GD Birla Centre for Education.
  • 04/05
    Protests continued on 3 December.(Photo: ANI Screen grab)
    Protests continued on 3 December.
  • 05/05
    Angry parents outside the school premises.(Photo: ANI Screen grab)
    Angry parents outside the school premises.

Furious parents of the school students, on 1 December, stopped school buses from entering the premises and demanded the removal of all male teaching staff.

They also told the school to ensure security for the children, including installing CCTV cameras.

The incident comes only a few weeks after a 7-year-old student was found murdered inside Ryan International School in Gurugram.

(With inputs from ANI, IANS, PTI)

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