A seven-year-old boy was brutally killed inside Ryan International School in Gurugram on Friday morning by a school bus conductor who slit his throat after trying to sexually assault him, sparking widespread shock and outrage both against the horrific crime and the institution's criminal negligence and utter security failure.
The Class II student was spotted outside a toilet, crawling and bleeding profusely — with his entire throat slit and even his right ear cut into two — before he died. The police arrested the conductor, Ashok (42), a resident of village Ghamroj. A knife was also recovered from the crime scene.
The brutal murder sparked angry protests by the victim's father, other guardians and locals who shouted slogans and vandalised school property, flinging furniture around and shattering glass doors.
The police had to resort to lathicharge to control the mob fury and arrested five protesters who were later let off.
The bus conductor, working for the school for the past eight months, allegedly confessed to having tried to sexually assault the boy on Thursday as well. He was the one who picked up the child and took him inside a van to be taken to a hospital, the police said. The victim's uncle, Pradeep Thakur, alleged that even drivers and conductors used toilets meant for students.
"We will first complete the main investigation and check the accused's previous crimes, if any, and then probe the school's culpability. ," said Simardeep, officiating Commissioner of Police, Gurugram. He added that the accused man had gone to the washroom to wash the knife and on seeing the child tried to assault him. When he resisted and screamed he slit the throat.
The police also detained around a dozen people, including drivers, conductors — allegedly hired from an agency not verified by the police — and school staff members for questioning.
Protests escalated as the initial FIR mentioned no responsibility of the school for the child's murder. The FIR had been registered against unknown persons. There were angry protests even at the mortuary of the Gurugram Civil Hospital that soon moved to the office of the Police Commissioner.
Two CCTV cameras are installed in the lobby where the washroom is located next to Class 1B. The child studied in Class 2A, situated on the same floor. The police took control of CCTV footage. Investigating officers said that the child went straight to the washroom and not to his class after the assembly.
Father Varun Kumar Thakur said he dropped his son and daughter (11) to school at 7:55 am and left for his residence in Shyamkunj area. "When I reached home around 8:10 am, my wife Sushma informed me that she had received a call from the school that their son had been found bleeding, and that I should speak to Anju Dudeja Madam," said the father, who works as a quality manager for a private company in Delhi.
He added that after talking to the teacher, the duo left home but was soon informed to reach Badshahpur Hospital. The two were then told by the teacher to reach Artemis Hospitals. The child had been declared dead on arrival. The mother fainted and has been quiet since then. "When we send our children to school, it's primarily their responsibility. I demand action against the person who has killed my son and also against the school authorities," said the father.
School Principal Neerja Batra said surprise checks are done but since there was an exam on Friday, students were dispersed immediately after the assembly. "He did not reach the classroom and was found outside the washroom bleeding profusely. He was breathing and was rushed to the first aid centre where we provided him oxygen and soon rushed him to Artemis Hospitals where he was declared brought dead," said Batra.