The authorities of the Rabea Girls Public School, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, allegedly locked up 16 nursery girls in a basement for five hours over delay in payment of their school fees. On Monday, the girls were rescued by their parents who had tried to contact the school authorities several times but their calls went unanswered.
On July 9,Police received a call from the angry parents claiming that their children had been confined in the school’s basement. They also said that their children were made to sit on the floor of the basement in the scorching Delhi summer. They claimed that even after they had shown the school authorities receipts to show that they had paid the fees, the school authorities did not budge.
“When I went to school to pick up my child, we were told by the teachers that the students are in the basement. When we asked why, they told us that they have been confined over non-payment of fees. We rushed to the basement and rescued the children. There was no ventilation in the room and my child was crying,” Fatima Begum, one of the girls’ parents, told the Hindu.
Another parent told the media that children were locked in the basement for not paying the fees. “I had cleared the fees, yet my child was punished. The children were thirsty and were suffering in the heat. Police helped us. Even after I showed the proof of fees clearance, the Principal was not apologetic or remorseful," the parent said.
Around 50 parents staged a protest at the school and filed a police complaint.
School authorities claim that fees must be paid by the 30th of every month, and children who default in payment of fees, are not allowed to attend classes.
According to teachers of the school, there was confusion over fee submission as the school was not informed by the school administration. They said in their defence that the girls were kept in the activity room, where children play, and that they had not really been confined, as the parents claimed.
A case under IPC Section 342 and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, has been registered at the Hauz Qazi police station and the case is to be investigated by the Delhi police.
The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has already set up an enquiry team and will visit the school today.
In a tweet, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia said that the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked for a report on the issue.