GD Birla School Reopens, Management Relieves Principal From Duties

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Kolkata: Classes at the GD Birla Centre for Education resumes on Thursday after six days as the school management and guardians have reached a settlement over the demand for removal of principal in the wake of alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old girl.

A school managing committee spokesman reportedly told that the authorities have decided to “relieve” principal Sharmila Nath from her present responsibilities with immediate effect. He said classes in the senior section will start from Thursday as agreed in the meeting between the Guardians’ Forum and the management committee. The junior section classes will start from Friday, he said.

A Guardians’ Forum spokesperson said after the meeting, “The Principal has been relieved of her responsibilities with immediate effect. And the classes will resume from tomorrow.” Asked if the principal was removed, she said, “removal is a term which entails long legal process.”

The vice-principal will be the officiating principal from Thursday, the forum spokesperson said while reading out a statement.

On 30 November, a four-year-old student was allegedly sexually assaulted in the GD Birla Centre for Education which led to the arrest of two physical training instructors. The parents of the girl had lodged an FIR against Nath on 2 December demanding the school principal’s arrest for allegedly suppressing facts about the incident. Nath was summoned to the Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar on Tuesday.

West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights chairperson Ananya Chakraborti, who was also present at the meeting, said, “The school will reopen from tomorrow and the principal has been relieved of her responsibilities. We are happy over the outcome.”

The meeting was attended by the school management, representatives of the Guardians’ Forum, senior police officers and Chakraborti. The forum’s spokesperson said the management promised to look into their other demands, having no male teacher in both junior and senior sections, CCTV in school buses. Hundreds of parents assembled outside the school gate before 5:00 pm and waited for the outcome of the meeting.

The police have arrested two physical training teachers of the school in connection with the incident. It has also formed a special committee to look into the allegations of negligence and false representation on part of the school.