It took a lot of convincing to get Pradyuman out of bed on Friday morning. After going through the rigorous morning routine, including breakfast and packing school bags of his children, Varun Chand Thakur finally managed to drop his son and elder daughter, Vidhi, outside the gates of Ryan International School. “He waved at me and I waved back,” said Varun. Fifteen minutes later, he received frantic calls from his wife, and half an hour later, Varun saw his son’s body at Artemis hospital.
“They cut my poor boy. The doctors told me the killer stabbed him twice. There was a big scar starting from his ear to the throat. His ear had been cut, and two flaps of skin exposed the insides of his throat. I never thought I would see my son in such a condition,” Varun said as he broke into a loud wail, which he muffled.
His relatives surrounded him inside the waiting room of the Gurgaon police commissioner’s office. Varun had not received the body from the mortuary as he did not want his wife and daughter to bear the shock on their own, and waited for his mother to arrive from Patna first.
Angry protesters tried to convince Varun not to claim the body and stage a protest outside Ryan International School till the accused was arrested, but Varun politely declined.
“I know the best criminal lawyer in town. It will be a tough fight between you and the school. Get him involved,” Mahavir Mishra, one of Varun’s colleagues, suggested, as Varun quietly nodded.
One of his colleague conjectured that the boy was sexually assaulted, which prompted Varun to pull at his hair and clench his teeth. Several people reprimanded the colleague for making the insensitive comment, and Varun regained his composure.
“My son had told me that the bus conductor would use the bathrooms. Does the school not take into account this kind of gross misconduct? The bigger culprits are the school authorities who mint money like an industry,” Varun said.
School authorities have maintained they take security of their students with the utmost seriousness.
“There are many times when we undertake surprise checks. This was an unfortunate incident and we are cooperating with the police. We want the culprits to be brought to justice,” said Neerja Batra, the school head.
After several hours of discussions and heated exchanges with the police at the commissioner’s office, protesters decided to return to the school, while a weeping Varun sat inside a car, which departed for his house.
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