Hyderabad school deaths: Caretaker arrested, owner absconding

The Mandal Education Officer who gave the school the approval to operate has been suspended.
Hyderabad school deaths: Caretaker arrested, owner absconding
Hyderabad school deaths: Caretaker arrested, owner absconding
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The day after two students were killed and five others were injured after a pillar collapsed at the New Century School in Hyderabad on Thursday, the police arrested one person from the school management. The Education Department also suspended the Mandal Education Official who had given the school the permission to operate. 

On Friday, parents protested in front of the school and demanded justice for the death of Mahi Keerthana and Chandana, and for those injured. Angry parents broke into the school and destroyed buses, tables and classroom windows, and the police intervened to bring the situation under control. 

Many police personnel were deployed to control the situation when the bodies of the two children were brought to the school premises.

Addressing the media on Friday, Kukatpally Assistant Commissioner of Police Bhujanga Rao said, “We arrested the caretaker, Venkatesh, last night and are now presently questioning him. The owner of the school Venkateshwar Rao is absconding. He started the school on land he had leased from one Damodar. The District Education Officer has been issued a memo.”

The police booked a case against the school management after Ganesh -- a parent of Devi Shree, one of the injured -- approached them. Cases have been registered under IPC sections 304A (Causing death by negligence) and 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others). Three teams have been formed to investigate the incident.

Two of the five students —  Naresh and Nikitha — are still critical.  

”Both are on the ventilator. The boy is in a critical condition with a lung puncture and internal bleeding in his stomach and abdomen. Last night, his blood pressure was down and was kept up artificially. The girl suffered a skull fracture, and there is a clot the doctors have identified. They are still in danger, but their vitals have stabilized and they have started responding to treatment,” a hospital spokesperson said.

The last time New Century School was inspected was in 2013, when it received the Education Department license to operate for ten years.

When a school is given a licence to operate, the school management must give the Educational Department a set of compliance documents that include structural integrity and fire safety compliance.

B Sridhar, the now-suspended Mandal Educational Officer was the one who was supposedly verified the claims made in those documents, but a pillar of the school crumbled within just six years, a senior education department official said.

The students of the school will now be accommodated in other schools. 

Speaking to TNM, Vijaya Kumari, District Educational Officer, said, “The rest of the students now have to be accommodated in nearby schools. We have already initiated the process. We spoke to the schools and they are willing to accept the children.”

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