At least three buses belonging to a school in Undri were damaged on Monday allegedly by protesters taking part in the Bharat Bandh. The buses belonged to Caelum High School. School trustee Monica Thadaney told The Indian Express that the incident took place at 7.15 am.
“Our buses had left school to pick up children. Near the Clover Highlands Society on Undri Road, a few men on motorcycles were waiting with stones. The attack must have been pre-planned. Stones were hurled at our buses, damaging windows and windshields. Three buses were damaged. We are fortunate that no children were in the buses at the time. We condemn this shameful act. Attacking a school bus is not justified during any protest and is a cowardly act. We have no idea who the attackers were but after the incident we decided to give a precautionary holiday to students,” she said.
Separately, a message was widely circulated on WhatsApp groups that a bus belonging to Sanskriti School, Undri campus, was attacked by miscreants. An image of a bus accompanied the message. However, trustee Praneet Mungali clarified that no such attack took place.
“Though a message was circulated on WhatsApp with an image of our school bus that it was attacked during the Bharat Bandh protests, the truth is, the windshield of one of our buses was broken on Sunday night while it was parked inside the school campus with no staff or children around. We are unaware if this was an act of vandalism or some kind of robbery attempt. However, it had nothing to do with the bandh,” he said.
Mungali said the Undri campus declared a holiday for pre-primary students when they learnt that other schools in the area were facing problems because of the bandh. Until Sunday, schools had decided to stay open on Monday, but the ones, especially those on NIBM Road, Undri, and nearby areas, started sending students back on Monday. Vibgyor High School, as well as Bishop’s School, declared a holiday.
“On Monday morning, we learnt that some buses were damaged. After the news was confirmed, we immediately informed parents that the school will be closed,” said Markus Deshmukh, spokesperson for Bishop’s School.
While classes were held for senior students at Delhi Public School, Mohammedwadi, the primary section was closed. While some schools decided to stay open, they didn’t ply buses as a safety measure.
“Our bus operator told us about buses being attacked on NIBM Road. We thought children are safer in school so we ran a full school day and decided that we won’t ply buses as they may be attacked. Instead, we asked parents to come and pick up the children and I’m staying back till each child is sent home,” said principal Rita Katawati.
Meanwhile, not just academicians but parents across the city condemned the attack on school buses. “It is such a cowardly and shameful act. How can they attack a school bus? What do these kids have to do with politics?” asked parent Sneha Shah.