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Citing harassment from a local corporator and her husband over junior school admissions, nuns working with Mount Carmel School, along with students and parents, staged a dharna outside the school to protest against the incident.
The dharna was organised by the Catholic Association of Pune against corporator Aarti Babar and her husband Sainath Babar. According to school principal Sr Marisa A.C., the harassment started two months ago Aarti Babar approached the school with a list of students seeking admissions in junior school.
“She demanded that all students should get admissions and I assured that we would try, but we do not sell seats. She left and within minutes, her husband barged in with his men and created a ruckus. He left after issuing threats, and last week, he repeated the same act by entering the school forcibly. He came to the principal’s office and broke pots to intimidate us,” said the principal.
“This is a girls’ school and we are extremely worried about the safety of girl students and staffers in the event of such violence. Hence, we also informed about the incident to the local police station,” the principal added. She went to meet Pune police commissioner on Monday evening.
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The allegations levied by school authorities against Sainath Babar include barging with men in a girls’ school without permission, attacking security men, disobeying rules and destroying school property, besides demanding 10 to 15 admissions in the school despite the fact that 70 to 75 students have already been admitted in each class.
Meanwhile, Sainath Babar denied the allegations of violence and instead accused the school of making profit illegally by taking donations and refusing to give seats on a fair basis. “My wife is the local corporator and naturally people of her constituency come to her with their problems. We received many complaints about this school regarding admissions that they demand up to Rs 1 lakh for seats through agents,” he said.
“So we first met them two months ago and asked them to conduct a lottery process for granting admissions so that whatever issues people have over transparency is automatically resolved. That day some boys were accompanying me whose arm touched a flowerpot and it broke. But I replaced it with five flowerpots as we didn’t want any violence,” Sainath Babar added.
“Last week, when we met them to ask why they had not conducted a lottery and continued backhand operations, they started saying that it is a girls’ school. But my wife who is a corporator and goes to meet them is also a woman and so are the mothers sending us their complaints,” Sainath Babar further said. On Monday, he too gave an application to Kondhwa police station about the school’s alleged policy of donations.
Senior Inspector Satish Govekar of Kondhwa police station admitted to receiving a letter from the nuns about the incident, but said that they refused to file a case. “We even asked them to file a complaint if they feel unsafe, but they insisted on not filing it,” he said.