|The demonstration on the school premises on Monday. Picture by Main Uddin Chisti|
TT, Cooch Behar, March 6: A six-year-old boy was locked up in his classroom at a primary school near here for around four hours on Saturday as teachers allegedly engaged students to close the institution and left without checking if any child was still inside.
Shiba Dey, a Class I student of the government-aided Mahishbathan Fifth Plan Primary School, was rescued in the evening by a villager alerted by the boy's cries.
Today, a section of guardians and local people demonstrated on the school premises, accusing teachers of negligence. They also stopped the teachers from entering the school and demanded that stringent administrative steps be taken against the guilty.
Sources have said the school has 57 students from preparatory level to Class IV and five teachers. It is located at a deserted place and around half-a-kilometre from the nearest village.
On Saturday, as the classrooms were locked, Shiba was inside his class.
"None of the teachers put locks on the doors and they engage students to do the task everyday at the end of the session. It is disappointing that they did not notice that the boy was still inside and left the school," Swapan Sarkar, a local resident, said.
As the boy did not return home, his family started searching for him in nearby areas. Around 6pm, a local youth, who was passing through the area, heard screams from inside the classroom.
"The boy was crying and shouting for help. Fortunately, there is no grill on the windows which were locked from inside. The youth reached close to the window and sought to console the boy," Sarkar said.
The youth then asked the boy whether he could open the bolt of the window but the child said he could not reach it. "Shiba was then asked to bring the table near the window. Somehow, the boy managed to drag the table close to the window. It was dark inside. He was then asked to get on the table," the resident said.
Shiba somehow got into the table, and followed the instruction. He then took down the bolt and the window opened. The youth caught hold of him and brought him outside. It was around 6pm then. His parents were informed.
Kamalesh Aich, the headmaster, sought apology from the agitators. "It is because of our mistake that the boy was left inside the class. We have apologised to his parents and the locals. From now on, we will check every classroom before closing down the school," he said.