Two children sustained injuries
The director, the physical training teacher and the office assistant of a Vikhroli school decided to teach a group of 25 students a lesson on Friday for failing to follow the prescribed haircut. They held the kids down and chopped clumps of hair as punishment. All three were booked for subjecting the children to cruelty and injuring two of them after horrified parents approached the Vikhroli police station.
Physical training teacher Milind Zanake and office assistant Tushhar Gore
Students of Kamal Vasudev Vayakule English Medium School in Vikhroli's Tagore Nagar had been told to maintain a short crop. The school director, Dashrath Bata, reminded them of it during a visit on Thursday.
The school staff forcibly gave the students a haircut yesterday. Pics/Rajesh Gupta
But his son and school director, Ganesh Bata (40), along with physical training teacher Milind Zanake (33) and office assistant Tushhar Gore (32), decided to enforce the directive in a cruel and traumatising manner. After classes began yesterday, they pulled up 25-30 students from Std V-VII who sported hair longer than that prescribed and chopped their locks. To humiliate them further, they cut the hair unevenly. Two of the students even sustained injuries to the head. So mortified were the students that they couldn't stop crying for hours and tried to hide their patchy haircut.
Kamal Vasudev Vayakule English Medium School in Vikhroli
Pinned down kids
According to Amit Pawar, parent of a Std V student, Ganesh grabbed the students' heads and Zanake their hands, while Gore took a pair of scissors to their hair. "The children cried, but they showed no mercy. My son came home traumatised."
The police said many parents rushed to the school, seeking an explanation, but the management refused to even entertain their complaint. Sources said only after the clamour grew that Dashrath (82) agreed to meet them.
The school allegedly dragged its feet on taking action against the errant staff, prompting the parents to approach the Vikhroli police. "We had no other choice but to get the police involved," said Pawar.
The police booked Ganesh, Zanake and Gore under sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 335 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt on provocation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, and section of 75 (cruelty to child meted out by the custodian) of the Juvenile Justice Act. Zanake and Gore were immediately arrested, but Ganesh absconded.
Sridhar Hanchate, senior inspector, Vikhroli police station, said the FIR was filed based on Pawar's complaint. "A search for the school director has been launched. The other two will be produced before the court on Saturday."
Didn't order it: Founder
Following Pawar's complaint, other parents, too, approached the police and recorded their statements.
During their inquiry, the police found that two of the traumatised students also sustained injuries to the head, most likely from the sharp pair of scissors.
Vicky Dhanwde, parent of another affected student, said his child is too scared to go to school now. "We just want the strictest action to be taken against the staff."
Dashrath said he was not party to the cruelty meted out. "I visited to the school and told the students to have closely-cropped hair. We had even written this in the school diaries. I had no idea that my order would be implemented in such a manner."
He said he had apologised to parents and will set up an inquiry in the matter. "We have never had such an incident in the 29 years that the school has been running. Based on the inquiry report, strictest action will be taken."
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