School director accused of exploiting meritorious tribal students in Chhattisgarh
Raipur: In a bizarre
case of exploitation of children, three meritorious students from the tribal
areas of Bijapur and Kanker, who were sent to Vedanta School, Devendra Nagar,
Raipur, for further studies under the government’s Jawahar Utkarsh Yojana,
allegedly ended up cleaning utensils and doing household work at the residence
of the school’s director rather than attending classes.
The three children were
‘rescued’ from the Kabir Nagar residence of the school director, Satish Sharma,
by the legislators of Bhanupratapur and Keshkal, Manoj Singh Mandavi and
Santram Netam respectively, on Sunday.
Manoj Mandavi told
media that these three students had excelled academically in class V and were
recommended for further studies to Raipur under the government’s programme by
the Tribal Welfare Commissioner.
The children, whose
identity is being withheld, as they are minors, told media persons that they
haven’t ever seen the school and only working at the residence of the director.
They said they were doing all household work, including cleaning bathrooms and
giving massages, for the director and his family.
Accusing the director
of making the children “bonded labourers”, Mandavi said they had received a tip
off about Sharma’s ‘shady’ doings and they reached his house to rescue them. He
said the parents of the children were not aware of this and they always thought
that they were studying and staying the school’s hostel.
The MLA also alleged
that Satish Sharma used several aliases, including Satish Kashyap and Kirti,
while talking to the parents of the students on phone. “We suspect that this
sort of exploitation has been going on for quite some time, and we would demand
a thorough inquiry into the affairs of the school and its director,” said
accompanied by the MLAs, later visited the Kabir Nagar Police Station to launch
a formal complaint against Sharma. Till the time of filing this report, a
complaint had been lodged and police officials said they would inquire into the
incident and take strictest possible action under the law.
Chairperson of Chhattisgarh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights,
Shatabdi Pandey, said, “a two-member committee would inquire into the incident
and if the allegations are found to be true, we would recommend suspension of
the accused and criminal action against him.”