Bangalore: The alleged rape of a six-year-old at a prominent school in Bangalore has enraged the city and triggered massive protests by parents.
A large group of parents protested outside Vibgyor High School demanding that its management take responsibility for their children's safety.
Protesters broke down the locked school gates and stormed the building as a heavy contingent of police tried to restrain them. Glass was also broken inside an office. (Watch: Protests at Bangalore School)
"My child studies in Class 1 here. I don't even know whether I can send her to school anymore," said a parent. Another shouted, "Our children need security. The school management doesn't need security from us."
The school's chairman, Rustam Kerawalla finally came out and promised more security for children. "We will install CCTVs and ensure background checks of staff," he told agitated parents, many of whom have full-time jobs in the bustling IT city and had never worried about their children during school hours before this.
On July 2, a Class 1 student was allegedly raped by two gym instructors during school hours. The child had reportedly left the classroom to use the washroom when she was attacked.
The incident was reported a week later. A police officer has said three people have been detained and the role of the school is also being examined.
The anger has snowballed with many schools in the city declaring that they can't be held responsible for the safety of students. They have asked parents to sign a form agreeing to release the school from any responsibility. (Schools Not Responsible For Child's Safety: Bangalore Parents Asked To Sign Bizarre Form)
The form says that when a child participates in events organized by the school - including field trips, excursions and camps - the school's staff or teachers can't be held responsible for "damage to loss of property, sickness or injury from 'whatever source' legal entanglements, loss of life or money..."
"We collectively refuse to sign such a form," a parent said, adding, "My child spends 6-7 hours in school. I am at work. If the school doesn't protect her, then how can I send her to school?"
This is the second incident this month to raise questions about the safety of children in schools in one of India's most cosmopolitan cities. Last week, another six-year-old in another school was picked up from school by her own aunt who later murdered her over a family dispute.