March 11, 2010 3:21:34 am
The four school students arrested and detained here for allegedly discolouring a government hoarding containing Mayawatis photo on Holi day were released on bail on Wednesday,hours before Chief Minister Mayawati slammed the police for taking such an action against them.
The four students of UP Sainik School in Lucknow,who are appearing for their Class XII Board exams,were arrested on the night of Holi on charges of damaging public property,and a case had been lodged against them under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. They were later sent to a reformatory home for juveniles.
Addressing mediapersons on Wednesday,Mayawati criticised the action taken against the students for their petty mistake,and said she had spoken to the Lucknow DIG in the morning and asked him why they had been punished so harshly and that too during their exams.
The parents of the boys claim they were falsely charged by two drunk policemen while they were out late at night to purchase medicine for an ailing fellow student.
The police escorted the four to their exam centres for the two Class XII papers which have taken place since their arrest one on March 3 and the second on Wednesday. The students were released on sureties of Rs 15,000 each.
I told the DIG they are children and have made a small mistake, Mayawati said,adding that she had got to know of the incident through newspapers. You should have just reprimanded them. Why were you so harsh and that too during their exam? I also told him that the police shouldnt behave in this manner with children in future.
The students,who belong to different districts of the state,stay in a hostel within the school premises. One of the students said 10 of them went out to buy medicine around 1 am on the night of Holi after a hostel inmate developed severe stomach ache. They couldnt find the medicine but on their way back,when they were a short disrtance from the school,two policemen on a bike stopped them and accused them of tearing up a government hoarding. While the rest of them managed to run into the school,the policemen caught four of them,the student added.
However,Daya Ram Kureel,in charge of the Sarojini Nagar Police Station,said a police patrol in the area had caught the boys red-handed,tearing the Information Department hoarding. After arresting the boys,they informed the principal,he said.
Principal Samar Veer Singh said he requested the police to release the students and assured them that disciplinary action would be taken against them for leaving the campus at night,but no one gave any heed.
Asked about reports that the incident could be a fallout of the schools alleged refusal to accommodate a student Kureel had recommended some time ago,the principal said while he had come to the school for an admission: I dont think the arrest of these students is related in any way.
A school official said three of the four students had qualified for the National Defence Academy exam. DIG of Lucknow Rajiv Krishna said they had sympathy for the boys,and will ensure that formalities are completed soon so that their careers are not ruined.
Parents of the students accused the police of framing the boys to save their own skin after the hoarding was found torn. I met my son at the Juvenile Home. He told us that on the night of Holi they went out to buy medicine for one of the hostel inmates, said Satpal Singh,a resident of Mainpuri.
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