“I Keep Seeing Pradyumn’s Face”: His Classmates Are Still in Shock
Families of students in Gurugram’s Ryan International School have been dealing with the aftermath of seven-year-old Pradyumn’s murder. Lingering trauma, tension, and fear have gripped parents, who are trying to help their kids cope while they worry for their safety.
The Quint spoke to the parents of a few of Pradyumn’s classmates to see how they are faring.
Unsurprisingly, *Dhruv’s father says his son was traumatised the day Pradyumn was found murdered in the school on 8 September. He said his son often asks about Pradyumn.
Pradyumn was among the four toppers of the class including Dhruv and two more children, his father says, and Dhruv would often enjoy friendly competition with Pradyumn, comparing marks and performance at school.
On the day the 7-year-old was found dead, Dhruv was made to clean the boy’s blood-stained bottle.
The incident has impacted Dhruv so much that he refuses to go anywhere near the toilet where Pradyumn’s body was found.
“My Daughter Panicked When She Saw His Blood-Stained Bag”
According to the police, it is likely that the toilet will be kept locked until the case is closed as it is a crime scene, but Pradyumn’s classmates are still uneasy.
*Shriti’s father tells The Quint how his daughter is dealing with the murder.
Despite being panicked, his daughter quickly complied and pulled out the diary because the school needed Pradyumn’s father’s number from it, he says.
“Class 2 Children Didn’t Have Identity Cards”
Shriti’s father pointed out several security lapses at the school that he regrets overlooking all these years. He said security guards at the gate weren’t strict enough, gaining access to the classes was easy, and the school’s canteen was located at an isolated spot in the school.
A few parents, including Dhruv’s, have now decided to take the initiative in safeguarding their children while they are still at the school.
“My Son Doesn’t Go to the Playground Alone Anymore”
*Neeraj was a close friend of Pradyumn. They often shared their lunch at school. On 8 September, Neeraj was waiting for Pradyumn inside the classroom. But instead of Pradyumn, his blood-stained bag was brought in. Neeraj was quick was to recognise his friend’s bag.
Neeraj’s mother complained that the Principal of Ryan International school was not at all accessible to parents, because of which their earlier concerns about the security of the school had gone unaddressed.
Neeraj was shocked when he saw on TV that Pradyumn had been murdered, his mother said. Since then, he has grown quiet and withdrawn.
“I Will Not Keep My Son At Ryan School Even if It Means Wasting a Year”
Though some parents are waiting for the investigation to progress further before deciding whether it’s okay to keep their children at the school, others are determined to shift their kids to different schools at any cost.
We paid fees which are beyond our financial capacity with the hope that our children would get the best education. Although we don’t want to keep our children in Ryan school, now we can’t even afford to get them admitted somewhere else. We will send our children to school only when we are convinced that they are safe.Dhruv’s Father
The Gurugram Police have arrested three people in this murder case – the school conductor, the HR head and Regional Head of the school. Not just Pradyumn’s father but many parents of the school are not convinced the police investigation is proceeding fairly, which is adding to their stress.
On Wednesday, the police questioned all staff of the school to record their statements to determine what they were doing and where they were on that day.
*Names changed to protect identities.