UP: Ghaziabad school principal arrested after girls write letter in blood to CM Yogi

UP: Ghaziabad school principal arrested after girls write letter in blood to CM Yogi

A 51-year-old school principal named Dr Rajeev Pandey in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad was arrested on 29 August for molesting girl students. He was apprehended after some pupils sent Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath a “letter in blood” pleading with him to act against him on 28 August.

The accused principal. (Source: NDTV)

The four-page letter from the female students read that the accused had called them in one by one in his office under various guises and touched them inappropriately. He also threatened them when they opposed his conduct. The victims, who range in age from 12 to 15, conveyed that they were initially too afraid to speak out about the abuse but ultimately alerted their parents.

They highlighted the police inaction and informed their families were being threatened. “We were made to sit at the police station for four hours and yet there is no action against the principal. Police come to our homes daily and threaten our parents. It is difficult to even step out.”

They stated, “School authorities have ordered us to not attend classes anymore. All of us who have been harassed by him want to discuss this issue with you in person. We request you to grant us and our parents permission to meet you and demand justice. We are all your daughters.”

The girls mentioned that their family members went to the school along with a local councillor, Parmosh Yadav on 21 August and addressed the principal after they informed them of his behaviour which resulted in a confrontation. He abused them as well as their family members. He was beaten up by them and ended up receiving injuries.

The parents of the students were named in a counter-complaint that the principal registered in which he claimed that they had violated school property and abused him. Both parties are now the subject of police reports. Assistant Commissioner of Police Saloni Agarwal who was accused of reprimanding the students commented, “A complaint against the principal was filed right away after students alleged molestation and bad touch by him.”

“Every time the principal walked into class, the girls would recoil. He hardly ever used the teacher’s desk, choosing to sit among the students. He would tell us he would fix our dresses. He would touch us inappropriately. When we objected, he said it was his love for us,” disclosed a student in an interview with The Times of India.

She spoke about her ordeal in the classroom hours after the principal of the co-educational school, which is government-aided and has classes from VI-X was nabbed by police. “I have been seeing this since I took admission here in 2021. He would often call girls to his cabin and comment on their clothes. He would ask things like, ‘What is that you are wearing inside,” she unveiled.

She added, “One day, he called me to his cabin and asked me some objectionable questions too. He even patted some girls inappropriately on the pretext of fixing their uniforms.”

The students endured their suffering in quiet until an incident on 21 August forced them to speak up. They informed their parents at that point, who brought the matter to the councillor. A student who had been instructed by the principal to stay back after class came out crying from his office on that fateful day.

The mother of another student at the school noted, “In between sobs, she only managed to say the principal had unbuttoned her shirt and touched her. Later, I came to know he did similar things to my daughter as well,” on 29 August.

“When we reached out to a teacher, we were told to complain should he do it again. But we didn’t agree. We thought if we don’t complain now, then more students will have to go through this trauma,” the aforementioned student remarked.

The pupils had asserted that if they raised concerns, the principal would threaten to flunk their examinations and remove their names from the records. The father of another student lamented, “My daughter had told me earlier about the principal’s bad touch. It was my mistake that I didn’t take her seriously. I thought he cared for the students. I regret not believing her now.”

Parents approached the councillor on 22 August who talked to multiple girls separately. She received complaint letters from more than 50 girls and shared them with the cops. An FIR was subsequently registered against the offender under sections 354A (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, however, nothing more was done.

The principal had been taken into custody, and portions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act had been included in the FIR, according to DCP (rural) Vivek Yadav. He alleged, “Allegations about police inaction are untrue. No police team has visited the houses of the students or threatened them. But we will look into this claim as well.”

The principal filed a counter-complaint last week alleging that 60 parents, the councilwoman, and two of her men assaulted him on the school grounds. He refuted the charges and charged the councillor with vendetta. “The councillor is trying to corner me as I refused to give admission to a child known to her. Over 50 people stormed into my office in her presence and attacked me.”

He explained that he had only been attending sessions for approximately a month because the English teacher had been on leave since August. “I punished a few students during these classes for giving incorrect answers or to discipline them. But I never touched anyone inappropriately.”

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