Harni Lake Tragedy: Parents Of Victims Demand Criminal Charges Against School Authorities & Vadodara Municipal Corporation

Harni Lake Tragedy: Parents Of Victims Demand Criminal Charges Against School Authorities & Vadodara Municipal Corporation

Citing lapses in safety protocols and regulatory oversight, they seek justice for their lost loved ones, urging the state education minister to pursue criminal charges against those responsible.

Amit CowperUpdated: Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 09:50 PM IST
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Harni Lake Tragedy | File

Amid the somber aftermath of the tragic boat ride mishap at Harni lake in Vadodara, grieving parents of the deceased children have taken a decisive stance, demanding accountability from school authorities and municipal officials. Citing lapses in safety protocols and regulatory oversight, they seek justice for their lost loved ones, urging the state education minister to pursue criminal charges against those responsible.

The heart-wrenching loss of innocent lives in the Harni lake boat ride tragedy continues to reverberate through Vadodara, as grieving parents rally for justice in the wake of the devastating incident. Meeting with state education minister Kuber Dindor, they voiced their anguish and frustration, demanding swift and decisive action against those deemed responsible for the avoidable catastrophe.

According to representatives of the Vadodara Parents Association, the absence of requisite permissions from the District Education Officer (DEO) for the ill-fated school trip casts a damning spotlight on the negligence of school authorities.

Kishor Pillai, president of the association, highlighted this critical oversight, emphasising that proper field supervision would have deemed the excursion impermissible from the outset.

Drawing parallels to past tragedies, Pillai underscored the need for accountability, citing the Supreme Court's precedent in a similar lake incident in Dalhousie in 1995. The court's framing of IPC clause 304/A held teachers accountable for negligence, setting a precedent for legal recourse in cases of educational excursions gone awry.

Furthermore, Pillai pointed to national legislation, including the Compulsory Education Act of 2009 and the Juvenile Justice Model Rules of 2016, which establish clear guidelines for ensuring student safety during school outings. Violations of these regulations, particularly regarding delays in disaster response, security loopholes, and failure to promptly inform authorities, warrant stringent penalties, Pillai argued.

Highlighting provisions within the Right to Education Act, Pillai stressed the legal obligation of school authorities to prioritize the safety and security of students. Negligence, as determined through investigation, could result in significant financial penalties for schools, with repeated offenses potentially leading to closure.

In addition to holding school authorities accountable, Pillai and the grieving parents called for similar scrutiny of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) for alleged negligence in ensuring the safety of the Harni lake boat ride. Had proper safety measures been in place, they contend, the tragic loss of young lives could have been averted.

Following their meeting with Education Minister Kuber Dindor, Pillai expressed cautious optimism, noting the minister's assurance of strict action against those found culpable.

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