Police action in Gurdaspur is a ‘witch hunt’, says Punjab private schools management body

April 12, 2022 12:44 a.m. STI

Mohali (Punjab) [India]April 12 (ANI): Supporting a strike called by private schools across Punjab on Monday, the Mohali Unaided Private Schools Association (MPUSA) while addressing the issue of a ‘witch hunt’ against private school principals demanded to draft a comprehensive policy on student safety in Punjab.
MPUSA comprises up to 80 private schools spread across Mohali district in Punjab.
The strike was a result of some arrests made in connection with a sexual assault case on a girl student at a private school in Gurdaspur district.
MPUSA informed that the association condemned the heinous incident and said it stands with the family of the girl who was sexually exploited. However, what he was up against was how the police arrested the school’s 70-year-old president and headmaster.
“The arrests by the police appear to have been made to appease the protesting parents and under political pressure. This was done without proper investigation or evidence. Nowhere in any preliminary investigation did the school management come forward was in any way responsible for the incident,” MPUSA chairman Mitul Dikshit said.

Dikshit further stated that MPUSA respects the responsibility to ensure the safety of children and staff on the school campus, there can be no compromise on the safety of children on school premises.
“However, we are against the victimization of school staff when no evidence of guilt has been found by the police administration even after an investigation,” he added.
While demanding a comprehensive policy on student safety, framed by the state government, MPUSA said, “The management and principal of the school have earned their reputation over decades and we demand that the godly relationship between students, parents and staff are not harmed by allegations.”
“We want to bring before you the fact that there is nowadays a tendency towards witch hunts adopted by the administrations and the police against the management of schools, directors and staff, especially of private schools. This is done without fact-checking and due investigation by the authorities,” MPUSA Deputy Chairman Sanjay Kumar said.
Meanwhile, MPUSA Secretary Colonel SPS Cheema (Retired) said MPUSA supports a thorough investigation and punishment of the person who actually committed this heinous crime. “It’s against arrests made on the basis of hearsay,” he said.
MPUSA demanded that no action be taken against school staff until evidence emerges.
“We also want action to be taken even against public school principals when incidents of this nature are committed on public school premises. Why are only private schools being targeted?” said MPUSA Treasurer Sandeep Gupta. (ANI)

Jeremy S. McLain