A day after the police registered an FIR against the Principal and four teachers of DAV Public School, Pakhowal Road, for allegedly thrashing 13-year-old Atharva Gupta, who is still in the ICU of Dayanand Medical and Hospital, several parents accompanied by students staged a massive protest outside the school Wednesday demanding justice for the Class VIII student.
Atharva had jumped off the school’s fifth floor after he was allegedly kicked and beaten by teachers for speaking to a girl on September 8. Amid slogan- shouting against the Principal and school management, the father of the boy, Atul Gupta alleged that the police have booked teachers under bailable sections owing to the high reputation that school and its management members enjoy. He demanded their immediate arrests and inclusion of section 307 (attempt to murder) in the FIR. In a bid to bring the situation under control, ACP (Sadar) Surinder Mohan reached the spot and tried to pacify the parents to call off their protests, but they refused to budge and said the protests will continue till the accused are not arrested.
The students as well as the parents told the ACP that the teachers beat them regularly over petty issues. “If a boy and girl sit together even to study, they find something fishy and starts enquiring. Sometimes, they slap the boy as well,” students told Mohan.
Some parents said initially did not believe their children when they complained of constant trashing. Whenever a complaint is made to the Principal, she asks parents to withdraw their children but no action is taken, the parents alleged.
Meetpal Singh Dugri, SOI president Malwa Zone-3, the students wing of Akali Dal, also reached the spot and assured parents that “the battle will continue till accused are not arrested and Atharva does not get justice”.
The protest continued for almost three hours as parents and students armed with placards with messages ‘Justice for Arthava’ continued raising slogans outside the school gate but there was no response from the school authorities. ACP finally succeeded in convincing the parents and claimed that the police is awaiting detailed medical report from hospital, on the basis of which harsher sections like 307 can be added to the FIR. He said.
“We have also sought the CCTV footage from the school. The Principal has allegedly destroyed evidence. We have sought two days from the parents to clear the entire picture,” said the ACP.
Meanwhile, Kimti Rawal, a city resident, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Human Rights Commission Wednesday to intervene in the matter and ensure justice for Atharva.
There was no communication from the side of the school Wednesday too and phone calls to principal and landline went unanswered.