New Delhi: Hundreds of parents across Delhi and adjoining areas chose not to send their children to school on Thursday due to possible unrest over the release of Bollywood film Padmaavat. A day earlier, a mob had attacked a bus carrying more than a dozen children in Gurugram.
A shocking mobile phone video emerged on Wednesday which showed a mob - protesting against the Sanjay Leela Bhansali's period film - targeting a bus with young children and teachers from GD Goenka World School. While several children were seen wailing and ducking for cover on the floor of the bus with teachers trying hard to protect them. It is only because of the driver that the situation did not become grimmer as he managed to steer the bus clear away from the protestors.
— ANI (@ANI) January 25, 2018
The frightening episode has shocked many - parents in particular. While several schools in Gurugram, including Pathways, GD Goenka, Shiv Nadar and Delhi Public School, have opted to declare Thursday as a holiday, parents across NCR are being extremely cautious about sending their wards to school. "Delhi has been largely peaceful so far but I did not want to take any risk after what I saw happening to a school bus in Gurugram. My eight-year-old can afford to miss a day of school even though his school is officially open," said Ajit Ramsinh, a Chartered Accountant. Anita Sarkar, a housewife in Gurugram, echoed the views. "It is sad that we live in a country where even children are not spared. After yesterday's incident, I chose not to send my two sons to school today. It is not just worth it for me to be on the edge all morning - worrying about how it is outside," she said.
Such is the volatile situation outside on the streets - especially in Gurugram, that city's Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh had to issue an appeal for public transport systems not to be disturbed by protestors. "Some people and groups want rioting in the district but we appeal to residents and groups not to violate law and order situation and section 144 is already imposed in the city," he told news agency PTI. The police force here is on high alert and additional 550 forces have been deployed across Gurugram.
The situation is similar in several other places with key areas - mainly theatres screening the film - being provided with more security to deal with possible protests from Rajput groups like Karni Sena.