Parents Protesting Sexual Assault At Kolkata School Want Principal To Go

Opened in 1973, GD Birla is one of five schools run by the Ashok Hall Group of Schools founded by BK Birla, industrialist, and his late wife Sarala Birla.

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Parents Protesting Sexual Assault At Kolkata School Want Principal To Go

The parents' forum has given time till 5 pm tomorrow to respond to the demand for principal's removal.

Kolkata:  After a four hour meeting with school management and police, the parents forum of GD Birla School in Kolkata have stuck to their demand - the removal "forever" of the prinicipal Ms Sharmila Nath under whose watch a four-year-old student was sexually assaulted in the school premises last week.

On reopening the school, the parents' forum said management has till 5 pm tomorrow to respond to the demand for the principal's removal. Only after that will the re-opening of the school be negotiated.

"We have not moved one inch from our original demand," said Mr Tanmoy Ghosh, spokesperson for the parents' forum. "First the principal has to be removed. Then we will talk about reopening of school. The management has said they will get back to us with their decision."

The principal, Sharmila Nath, was questioned by police at the police headquarters, Lal Bazar, for over six hours today. She may be summoned again if required by the police.

GD Birla school was closed indefinitely on December 3, two days after reports of sexual assault of a four-year-old student and the arrest of two accused PT teachers. A notice attributed to the principal was pasted on the school gate.

Opened in 1973, GD Birla is one of five schools run by the Ashok Hall Group of Schools founded by BK Birla, industrialist, and his late wife Sarala Birla. Their daughter Manjusree Khaitan is reportedly currently in charge of the school.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke out on the issue today. Condemning errant teachers, she said, "The culprits should be punished. But the school can't just remain closed. Other children who are students there can't be made to suffer."

Education minister Partha Chatterjee said the state will step in. "Even if they are not affiliated to the state board, we have a responsibility in the matter and ensure schools are shape," he said, adding, "Now that there are protests on the street, the state can't turn a blind eye."

The state had set up a team to monitor fees at private schools some months ago. That team may be expanded to monitor school infrastructure, sources said. "We will not go into the schools but we will seek their security certificates."

Among those present at today's meeting at the school were police officers Rupesh Kumar and Ms Aparajita Rai, parents' forum's Subrata Dutta, Dr Manashi Banerjee and Mr Tanmoy Ghosh and so were Gautam Ganguly, trustee, Debashish Biswas, school administrator, Mrs SP Parjoshee, vice president education of the group's management.

Ms Ananya Chakraborty, chairperson of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) and member June Malia were also present.

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