GURGAON/CHANDIGARH -- The Haryana government today recommended a CBI probe into the murder of a seven- year-old boy in a school in Gurgaon and took over its management for three months.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made the announcement after a half-an-hour meeting with the family members of class 2 student Pradyuman Thakur who was found with his throat slit in the school washroom last Friday.
On any action against the school, he said the government has decided to take over the management of the school for three months.
"This incident (the murder of Pradyuman) was unfortunate... Today I came here to meet the family. There was a demand from the family members and several others for handing over the case to the CBI for investigation," he told reporters in Gurgaon.
"The Haryana Police has been properly conducting a probe in this case. Despite that and in view of the demand, this case is being handed over to the CBI for a probe. I appeal to the CBI to investigate the case as expeditiously as possible," Khattar said.
The chief minister, who visited the house of Pradyuman, offered his condolences to his family.
"We have also decided that the management of the school will be taken over by the government for three months. The Deputy Commissioner (Gurgaon), Vinay Pratap Singh, under his supervision, will bring the system in the school on track," he said.
"The Haryana government decided to take over the management of the school after the fact-finding sub-committee in its reports found various irregularities with regard student security inside the school premises," Vinay Singh said.
"I am with Pradyuman's parents and assure them of every possible help. I am also assuring them that the culprits in this case whether it is from the school management or otherwise, will not be spared," Khattar said.
The victim's father Barun Thakur said that the responsibility of school managements should be fixed in such cases.
"In future, the schools should ensure that such incidents did not occur on their premises," he said.
School bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who emerged as the prime suspect, was arrested the same day.
The suspect's family, however, alleged that he was being made a scapegoat in the entire police investigation.
State Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said to ensure strict implementation of the rules and regulations relating to safety of students in schools, the government has decided that the relevant Act would be amended in the coming Assembly session.
He said keeping in view the situation in the wake of case, the deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, has been appointed as the Administrator of Ryan International School in Bhondsi for three months.
"Thereafter, the situation will be reviewed and if any loopholes are found in the implementation of the rules, then term of the school Administrator can be further extended," he said in Chandigarh, according to an official release.
Sharma said that the government was committed to ensuring safety of students and no comprise would be made in that regard.
"If any school does not comply with the prescribed rules, the state government can take over the school concerned and strict action will be initiated," he said.
Additional Chief Secretary, School Education Department, K K Khandelwal said regulations have been framed on the safety aspect for all schools, including the private aided and unaided schools.
He said that safety committees would be formed at the district, sub-divisional and school levels headed by deputy commissioners, sub-divisional magistrates and school heads concerned.
He said the safety measures included safe transportation of children with female escort and maintenance of entry and exit records of all visitors to schools.
There would be proper attendance, reporting of absentees and compulsory ID cards for staff and students while special attention would be paid to accident and abuse-prone areas inside schools, he said.
Proper steps would be initiated to prevent children from getting drowned, suffering electric shock or fire or any other injury, he said.
Khandelwal said no labourer would be allowed in the proximity of students and no construction work would be carried out during school hours, adding that no adult, except female sweepers, would have access to student toilets.
He said that the schools should have adequate surveillance by functional CCTV cameras, besides ensuring safe neighbouring premises.
Other safety measures included conducting mock drills for any type of hazard, proper sensitisation and training practice sessions for children, parents and staff, he said, adding self-defence training would be provided, besides special attention to children with special need.
He said that the schools would be asked to engage or empanel counsellors and noted a dedicated child helpline would be set up.
The complaints should be disposed of in a time-bound manner and prompt action be taken against wrong doers, Khandelwal said.
Awareness should be also created about Internet hazards and road safety, he said.
He said that in case of non-compliance, action would be taken.