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Kejriwal Reprimands Principal of Delhi School for Locking Up Kids

Visiting the school, Kejriwal told its principal, “This kind of a thing will not be tolerated in the future.”

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visited Rabea Girls’ Public School on Thursday, 12 July, in Delhi’s Ballimaran locality, and reprimanded its principal for allegedly locking up 16 kindergarten girls in a basement over unpaid fees.

In a video released by ANI, Kejriwal can be heard telling the principal that his government and the Delhi police will take action against the school and that such acts will not be tolerated in future. On Wednesday, Kejriwal had sought a report regarding the incident.

The Delhi Commission for Women also issued a notice to Delhi Police and the Education Department over the alleged confinement of the kids by the school authorities.

What Happened

Sixteen minor girls, aged four and five, were allegedly locked up in the basement of their school by the authorities for five hours because their parents had failed to pay the monthly fees.

A report by India Today stated that the incident took place in Rabea Girls’ Public School in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area on Monday, 9 July.

When the parents of the kindergarten students went to pick them up at 12.30 pm, they were told by the school staff that their children had been locked up and also marked absent over non-payment of fees.

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An FIR was later filed by angry parents at the Hauz Khas police station, it was further reported. 

A case under Section 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and Section 75 (cruelty to child) of the Juvenile Justice Act was registered and a probe into the incident was order, the Hindustan Times reported.

“We have sent a notice to the school principal. We will also record the statements of all concerned parents,” the police was quoted as saying.

What the Parents Say

The parents, in their statements, claimed to have already paid the fees. According to the Hindustan Times report, many even showed the receipts of the fees paid.

“My 4-year-old daughter was punished by school authorities for not paying fees, whereas the fact is that I have already paid for the next six months,” a parent told ANI.

Countering this, the school authorities said the payment of fees by the parents was not recorded in their database. The headmistress of the school, Farah Diba, said the school had not received the fee slips that were meant to be handed over to them.

In response, the parents said they are meant to hand over the slips to the teachers only on the 11th of every month.

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The parents further alleged that the girls were confined in the basement for as long as five hours – from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm –The Asian Age reported.

When we spoke about this incident to the headmistress, she misbehaved with us and told us that she will forcefully throw us out of the school.
Complainant to The Asian Age

What the School Says

The principal of the school, Naheed Usmani, told The Quint that the case has been blown out of proportion and has been presented in a wrong light.

The children were kept in an activity room which is located in the basement. It has fans and lights. Only one fan had gone for repair. They were only segregated before the dispersal time because the lane outside the main gate is congested and the teachers wanted to speak to the parents separately and notify them about something. 
Naheed Usmani to The Quint

Confirming that there was an issue over “fee discrepancies”, Usmani added:

We admit that there are gaps between our records and bank records. Our headmistress had gone to the bank on the same day to collect the slips but before she could return, some people barged into the school. We had no intention of detaining 4-5 year old kids. They are like our children,
Naheed Usmani to The Quint
Visiting the school, Kejriwal told its principal, “This kind of a thing will not be tolerated in the future.”
Farah Diba, Headmistress of Rabea Girls’ Public School.
(Photo: ANI)

Earlier, the school headmistress Farah Diba had told ANI, “The basement is where the children play. There were two teachers watching them. They usually sit on the ground and the fan had gone for repair that day. The allegations are wrong.”

(With inputs from ANI, Hindustan Times, India Today and The Asian Age)

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