Claim harassment and unhygienic food forced them to escape; parents’ complaints fell to deaf ears
Srinagar: Five students of Guardian Public Shool in Khimer-Hazratbal here fled from their hostel on Sunday following “continues harassment by the warden and maid over last two years”.
Two of the students, parents say, were traced from Dal lake area while the rest were found in a park in Bemina area of Srinagar.
Of the twenty enrolled in the boarding school, five students – Rahil Rasool, Mohmin Shakeel, Danish Nazir, Wasim Ahmad Ghanai and Bilala Ahmad Ghanai – fled their school premises by jumping through a window from the first floor of their hostel room.
The students alleged that the hostel authorities forced them to take extreme steps because they were living under tormenting conditions. “We fled because our parents did not believe us, they were of an opinion that school authorities wanted our betterment,” Rahil Rasool, a sixth grade student told Kashmir Reader.
He added that the intensity of the harassment was so high, the warden and maid beat students using plastic canes and belts when students refused to eat ‘unhygienic food’ every day.
“My father registered complaints several times, but he was sent back saying no one except me had issues. Today, when all the parents met, our apprehension that authorities gave the same response to every parent proved right,” he said.
Another student, Danish Nazir, told Kashmir Reader that the warden harassed majority of the students, except few blue-eyed ones. The warden, he said “stripped” students as a punishment. “He forced us to say a famous dialog from a movie 3 Idiots: ‘Jaha pana tusi great ho, tohfa kabool karo’, as he filmed us in our underwear,” he said.
Students also alleged that the hostel authorities did not follow the menu promised at the time of admissions. “They only serve rice with pulses and potatoes. During the admission process, we were promised meat, chicken and cheese every week. But ever since we were enrolled here, none of the dishes mentioned in the menu were served,” one of the students said.
Ghulam Rasool Dandroo, father of Rahil Rasool, said that Sunday’s incident was a clear case of security lapse by the school management. “There should have been proper security arrangements for the safety of our children. We admitted our wards in this school to see progress in their education. It looks like they are committed in destroying the future of children,” he said.
The parents also alleged that the warden, who also is supposed to be a tutor of the students in the hotel, is not well educated and therefore does not meet the requirement of a teacher. “Our children also told us that warden does not teach them but asks them to learn lessons of their own. How will they improve in such circumstances? Do we pay 5500 rupees per month for such things?” asked Nasreen, sister of one of the students.
She also said that the children did not approach their respective families because of the fear being beaten by parents. “One among the children had even spoken about joining Zakir Mussa’s group,” Nasreen said.
She was worried about the security of the children. “Yesterday, we traced them in the out skirts of the city. They had divided themselves in two groups, two students were found near the Dal Lake, and rest were found in a local park near JVC (in Bemina),” she added.
Principal of the Guardian Public School told Kashmir Reader that the incident took place when she was on leave. “I came to know about it early in the morning. I will investigate the matter and every issue will be addressed within five working days.”