Is India safe for children going to school? Does India values its education system? Can India ever compete with schools which are based in abroad? This questions come in the light of gruesome murder of seven-year-old boy Pradhyuman Thakur, whose throat was allegedly slit by bus conductor Ashok Kumar and the accused is currently in police custody. The dastardly incident happened at a prestigious Ryan international school (spread all over India; with 186 schools in 18 states) in Gurugram and it has put huge question mark over the safety of innocent children going to school.
The heinous act happened in such a posh school that it raises very pertinent questions about the child safety in our education system and calls for an honest introspection. This incident didn’t happen in some village of Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, but in a state which is very close to the capital of India i.e. Delhi and it begs the question, was Pradhuman’s murder just a flash in the pan or the malaise has corrupted our system from top to bottom. The murder took place in the wee hours of morning and in a school which boasts of international standards and infrastructure. How can a man enter a toilet and kill a young student in broad daylight. Is Ryan International School also culpable for the murder of the seven-year-old child?
Indian education system has always lagged behind as compared to the rest of the world and the blame lies with our archaic and regressive education system. The incidents of sexual assault on children, sodomising them and the increase in paedophile activities have been on rise and it is happening through length and breadth of our country. The state governments have been a mute spectator and India’s image has taken a serious beating when it comes to children’s safety worldwide. The schools have to do evaluation of every employee, their background check, psychiatric analysis and thorough investigation before hiring them. The relationship between student and teacher has to remain sacrosanct and, in some shocking cases, it is the teacher who commits the barbaric act of sodomy on students.
The literacy rate in India is abysmally low at close to 75 percent, and the main reason for sexual crimes against children and women comes through because of lack of education, sick and perverted mindsets and apathy in general on all accounts. Indian state has failed its children and women. Every day, we hear stories of gangrape, sexual assault and we have become so immune that it doesn’t shake our conscience and we keep treating this cases as normal and we move on with our life.
The numbers regarding the child sexual abuse and crimes committed against them are staggering as a total of 94,172 cases of crimes against children were registered in the country during 2015. Highest number of child crimes were recorded in Maharashtra, followed by UP, MP and Delhi.
A total of 3,350 cases of ‘Sexual Harassment’ of children were registered during the year 2015. Maharashtra, UP and MP topped the chart. A total of 14,913 cases under the ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act’, 2012 were registered during the year 2015. Uttar Pradesh (3,078 cases), Madhya Pradesh (1,687 cases) and Tamil Nadu (1,544 cases) have accounted for majority of such cases in the country. The above mentioned numbers paint a very sorry picture of Indian education system and the general neglect of children from such an early age shows how the state is not doing enough for the child’s protection and rights against anti-social elements.
Spare a thought for Pradhuman’s poor father Varun Thakur and his family in this time of grief. Their whole life has collapsed and their loved one lost his life through no fault of his own and the system failed a seven-year-old. The role of media has to be appreciated in this case, but our system is rigged and corrupt and if big fish are not caught in this case, then justice will not be delivered, and we will witness yet another case of another child getting sexually assaulted and losing his life because we as a nation have become heartless and thick skinned.
It’s time to take a stand against crimes against women and children and if the system has to be changed, then so be it.