Modern School reopens, names Akkriti death probe panel (Lead)

April 27th, 2009 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The management of the elite Modern School Monday named members of its internal inquiry committee as the school reopened after two days of protests by students and parents over the death of Class 12 student Akkriti Bhatia.
Eminent editor George Verghese has been named the chairman of the internal inquiry committee and its members include B.K Rao, chairman of the medical council of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Subhash Arya, head of the department of paediatrics adolescent medicine of the B.L. Kapur Hospital, and advocate Anuradha Dutt.

“This committee has been set up to look into the events that led to Akkriti’s death and also to evaluate whether the different persons concerned handled systemic or medical matters with best intentions or not,” trustee of the school Ashok Pratap Singh said in a statement here.

“The committee will also see to it that whether there was any gross negligence and error of judgment which on hindsight might have been dealt with differently,” Singh added.

The committee which also plans to make suggestions for improvements to ensure better preparedness to deal with emergencies, is expected to submit its findings within 10 days. The education department of the Delhi government and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights are also holding an inquiry into Akkriti’s death.

However, Akkriti’s maternal uncle Raman Verma told IANS that the family was unaware about the members of the committee.

“We have no clue about the committee. The school authority is not communicating with us. They say it’s an internal inquiry,” he said.

Akkriti, 17, suffered an asthma attack in the school last Monday and died while she was being taken to hospital. Akkriti’s parents are holding the school authorities responsible for her death, saying that the school authorities delayed the move to hospital. They have demanded Malhotra’s resignation.

The school, which was closed Friday and Saturday, after parents and students held protests in school premises Thursday, blaming the school authorities for Akkriti’s death, reopened Monday.

“The school opened on routine time at 7.40 a.m. and has been functioning normally,” principal Goldy Malhotra told IANS.

Agitated over the death of their friend, students launched a signature campaign as soon as the school opened.

“About 150 students have signed the letter demanding resignation of the principal. It has been submitted to the school management,” a classmate of Akkriti said.

Shiv Chugh, one of Akkriti’s friends, said: “We are happy that an inquiry committee has been set up. Now we are expecting justice for Akkriti and resignation of Goldy Malhotra.”

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