Mumbai school trustee accused of raping toddler compares himself to Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela
Andheri school's trustee writes to a student's worried parent, claiming that he is paying the price for being a revolutionary like Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela
Yet another parent has voiced that she is afraid to send her child to an international school in Andheri, where the co-founder and trustee has been accused of raping a three-year-old student. Far from being abashed, the trustee wrote back to the parent, comparing himself to modern-day heroes like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. As mid-day had reported yesterday, parents were shocked when the trustee returned to work at the school days after he was released from jail. The trustee is out on bail, but is yet to be cleared of the rape charges.
Mahatma Gandhi would probably not have known what to make of the trustee's claims. File pics
On February 5, one of the parents wrote to the school officials: "My heart has been filled with dread at the thought of our children being exposed to various conversations surrounding the events in the past 6-8 months. Some of the children have been using phrases like 'he was in jail', which has shocked a lot of us. I do not wish the children to be exposed to the darkness surrounding this case. If the kids in pre-primary are saying these things, without truly understanding the horror of these words, then I'm sure the older kids are going through worse." She also mentioned the child protection policy on school's official website, which states that if sexual misconduct is reported, the accused person (adult or student) will be asked to remain absent till the investigation is over.
'Gandhi went to jail too'
Yesterday, the accused trustee replied to her email: "Imagine the young Indian minds being terrorised at the thought of meeting Mahatma Gandhi, knowing that he had been in custody; imagine the plight of the young South African minds terrorised when being told about Nelson Mandela's years in jail. Imagine the schoolchildren's minds, amused at the fact that the trustee was in jail."
He went on: "Our young schoolchildren's minds are terrorised by what they hear, not by the truth, never. Tell them that the trustee was remanded to judicial custody for being wrongly accused of an action that he has in fact been fighting against for decades. Tell them that he has spent half his life to create a space where kids can roam freely without fear and had to pay a price for it."
He then refers to a technicality to explain why he is back at the school despite the child protection policy. "Read it [the policy] carefully. The policy states that an investigation will be carried out and, till then, the accused is asked to stay away from the school. It refers to an internal investigation, and not police investigation. In my case, they [police] had already stepped in before we could conduct an internal investigation. What better investigation could one have asked for?"
'Not a danger to kids'
He added, "For six months, I stayed away for the investigation to be conducted in a fair manner. I was then released on bail. Do you think the Hon'ble Court would have released me if I were a danger to society?" Parents have also written to the police to ask how the trustee is back at school without getting a clean chit. Cops said there was no condition to his bail that would require him to stay away from the school.