Parents allege the schools had failed to act on their complaints and tried to shield the offender
A non-teaching staff member of a prominent Kolkata school, the MP Birla Foundation, arrested last night for sexual abuse of a kindergarten student in September, has said that he and another non-teaching staff member were repeat offenders, according to a police report submitted to court.
"Manoj Manna, the accused, told police he and another man called Ganesh would sometimes abuse the school children," public prosecutor Radhakanta Mukherjee said after court remanded Manna to police custody till December 11. "We have to find Ganesh and visit the scene of the crime," he added.
In the police complaint filed by the student's family in September, two men are mentioned but nobody is named. But the child had reportedly picked out photos of two accused from about 50.
The school, which had failed to act on complaints by the kindergarten student's parents in September and allegedly tried to shield the offender, has claimed there was no "Ganesh" among its employees.
Parents protesting outside the school since yesterday said that was even more dangerous, that an outsider can enter school and molest children without the school coming to know about it.
Parents also questioned the failure to act on the complaint filed in September at the Behala Women's police station. Kolkata Police joint commissioner (crime), Vishal Garg, said so far no lapses were found in the last police probe. But the matter, it appears, is under investigation.
In September, parents of the child who had reported sexual abuse not once but twice, had gone to the school principal and police demanding action. The principal dismissed their claims of abuse.
The police, the mother of the child has said, had told her to rethink filing her complaint because if she did, the child may be taken away to a state home for months.
The parents had pulled their child out of school. But when the GD Birla molestation case hit headlines, they spoke to the media which provoked other parents of the MP Birla school to protest at the gates.
GD Birla and MP Birla are run by two different entities. GD Birla is part of the Ashok Birla Group of Schools founded by industrialist BK Birla and his wife Sarala. The group is currently overseen by their daughter Manjusree Khaitan.
The MP Birla Foundation is run by Harsh Lodha. It was founded by BK Birla's brother, MP Birla. After his death, wife Priyamvada ran the foundation. When she died, a controversy arose over her will which left the MP Birla assets to her chartered accountant Rajendra Lodha. After he died, his son Harsh took charge. The controversy over Priyamvada Birla's will is still in court.