Several violations of the Juvenile Justice Act have been found in the Tiruvallur school where a class 12 student was found dead, said Priyank Kanoongo, chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). He visited the Sacred Hearts Girls’ High School in Kilacheri, Tiruvallur on July 28 where the student was found dead on July 25. Priyank had earlier visited the Kallakurichi school, where a student’s death had led to protests and arson.
Addressing mediapersons, the chairman said that he and his team visited the child’s home and met her family members. “We interacted with the investigation officers of CB-CID, the local police officers, the doctors who conducted the post-mortem of the child and the District Collector. On investigation, we found several violations of the Juvenile Justice Act. We found that the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) officials are unaware of the rules and regulations of the Juvenile Justice Act,” he said. He also added that his team has observed all the lapses and will soon compile a report and submit it to the union government, as well as Tamil Nadu government.
Speaking to TNM, an official from the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) said, “As soon as the incident happened, the children in the school were sent home as they might be scared. We have been instructed to not reveal any information until CB-CID shares a report of their findings.” TNM also spoke to a member of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) who also said that they were instructed by the District Collector and CB-CID officers to not share any information without their permission.
District Collector of Tiruvallur Dr Alby John Varghese said that the NCPCR report has not been shared with them yet. “My understanding is that the violations of the Juvenile Justice Act was with regard to the maintenance of registers as mandated under the Act,” he added.
The investigation of the case was immediately transferred to the CB-CID soon after the girl’s body was taken to the hospital. This was done following the recent Madras High Court order that any unnatural death reported in educational institutions should be investigated by the special crime branch.
The girl hailed from Thakkalur village, and was residing in the hostel of Sacred Hearts Girls’ High School in Kilacheri, near Mapedu. Sources told TNM that on July 25 morning, the girl got ready for school, but was later found dead in her room. After the incident was reported to the Mappedu police station, the school remained shut for the day.