Ryan School murder case: CBI questions Class 11 student, no evidence against bus conductor

Demonstrators protest outside Ryan International School in Gurgaon as they demand action against the school. File photo: PTI

Demonstrators protest outside Ryan International School in Gurgaon as they demand action against the school. File photo: PTI

New Delhi: A Class 11 student who allegedly wanted the parent-teacher meeting and exams to be postponed has been apprehended in connection with the killing of a seven-year-old boy in Gurgaon’s Ryan International School, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Wednesday.

In a sensational twist to the case, the high school student, who is about 16 years old, was apprehended late last night for allegedly killing his junior inside the school, said a CBI spokesperson.

Pradyuman, a Class 2 student of the school, was found dead with his throat slit by a sharp-edged weapon on the morning of 8 September.

Officials in the agency said the crime was committed in just three to four minutes. The CBI has not found any evidence so far against bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who was the Gurgaon Police’s sole accused in the gruesome killing, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

The murder weapon, a knife, was found in the commode of the toilet where the killing allegedly took place, he said. It was the same knife seized by the Gurgaon Police.

According to the agency, the Class 11 student, believed to be weak in his studies, allegedly slit Pradyuman’s throat to get the school to declare a holiday in order to defer a scheduled parent-teacher meeting (PTM) and an examination.

The CBI spokesperson said the minor student was apprehended last night at 11.30 pm in accordance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. “His parents were kept in the loop and all measures in accordance with the JJ Act were complied with. He remains our prime suspect.”

He said the agency analysed CCTV footage, showing the movement of people in and out of the toilet, on the basis of which it narrowed the list of suspects. The agency has not found any evidence of sexual assault, he said.

The CBI was able to piece together elements of the crime by analysing CCTV footage, scientific and forensic examination, analysis of the crime scene and by questioning students, teachers and staff of the school.

Based on CCTV footage and crime scene analysis, the agency examined all potential suspects and witnesses. The list included 125 teachers and students, officials said.

Ryan Pinto, owner of the Ryan International School chain, is yet to be questioned in the case. “The probe is still on. The first task was to identify the killer. It was a tough case. By the time the case was given to us, many persons were allowed to use the bathroom. We are questioning the teenager only between 10am to 5pm as per JJ Act provisions,” said an official.

The mobile records of all the suspects were scrutinised and examined by the CBI’s special crime team. Although the Class 11 student had planned a killing on 8 September, the “child in conflict with law” had not identified his target, Dayal said. It was a coincidence that Pradyuman reached the toilet and became a victim of senior student’s ghastly plan, officials added.

The father of the high school student told a television channel that his son was innocent and they had been cooperating with the police from day one. “My son didn’t do anything. He informed the gardener and teachers after finding Pradyuman’s body. He stayed in the school the entire day, and appeared for the exam. There was not even a single spot of blood on my son’s clothes,” the father said, his face pixellated to avoid identification.

Giving details, he said Tuesday was the fourth time they were called. “I reached there around 11am… I left from there at 2am and CCTV footage can be seen for that,” he said.

The CBI’s findings will be a major embarrassment for the Gurgaon Police, which had blamed Ashok Kumar and alleged that he was waiting in the toilet with a knife. The police had formed 14 SIT teams.

Kumar, a resident of Ghamdoj village in Sohna, was hired by a school bus contractor around seven months before the killing. Villagers in Ghamdoj had said Kumar had been framed and he had no previous history of being involved in any crime. “Now that they have arrested this student, it is proof that the doubt we had about the police investigation was right,” Pradyuman’s father Varun Thakur told the media.

[“Source-livemint”]

New school offers education ‘salvation’ for Syrian girls in Lebanon

Image result for New school offers education 'salvation' for Syrian girls in Lebanon

BAR ELIAS, Lebanon (Reuters) – A new girls’ school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s poor Bekaa region is aiming to give girls from conservative backgrounds the chance at a formal education.

Syrian refugee girls take a photo with Noura Jumblatt, founder of the NGO Kayany Foundation, at a school for Syrian refugee girls, built by the foundation in Bar Elias town, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Gaining access to education in general is difficult for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, but for girls from socially conservative families who disapprove of mixed schools, it is even harder.

Zahra al-Ayed, 14, and her sister Batoul, 17, were from a village in Syria’s northern Idlib province where women were expected to marry young.

But the experience of fleeing war and living in harsh poverty woke her parents to the life-changing importance of education, the girls’ mother Mirdiyeh al-Ayed said.

“My eldest daughter tells me that she will not marry until after she finishes her education. She even wants to travel abroad and learn,” she said.

Human Rights Watch organisation said in its latest report in April that more than half a million refugee children are out of school in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

In Lebanon, international donors paid for 200,000 public school spaces for Syrian children in 2015-2016, according to the HRW report, but only 149,000 children actually enrolled.

Lebanese and international non-governmental organizations have been striving to fill the gap, and to eliminate the legal, financial and language barriers preventing refugee children from getting their education.

For the al-Ayed family, used to Syria’s system of gender segregation after the age of 12, one big barrier to enrolling the girls was the lack of single-sex schools in Lebanon that accept refugees.

Syrian refugee girls are pictured at a school for Syrian refugee girls, built by the Lebanese non-profit Kayany Foundation in Bar Elias town, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

SYRIAN REFUGEES

The new school that Zahra will attend is in Bar Elias in the Bekaa valley and was opened on Thursday by the Kayany Foundation, a Lebanese charity. It educates 160 Syrian girls aged from 14-18 who have missed school for several years.

Those who manage to pass the Lebanese system’s eighth grade exams – usually taken at the age of 14 or 15 – can join the local Lebanese public school in Bar Elias, which Batoul al-Ayed has done.

Slideshow (6 Images)

The Kayany Foundation school teaches the official Lebanese curriculum, which includes science, mathematics, Arabic and English, in addition to vocational skills.

The school, built from colorful pre-fabricated classrooms, is its seventh in the Bekaa valley, where the majority of the Syrian refugee communities are located in Lebanon.

It was meant to address the Syrian parents’ concerns about sending their teenage daughters to schools for both girls and boys. All its teachers are women and it provides transportation for students between home and school.

“Education is salvation for the refugee girls,” said Nora Jumblatt, head of the Kayany Foundation, at the opening ceremony.

Funding for the school was secured for this year from international charity Save the Children and the United Nations Women For Peace Association, according to Kayany officials.

“I have a dream to become a pharmacist,” Rama, 19, who is preparing to apply for the eight grade exams at Kayany school said. In normal times, Rama would already have been applying for university at that age.

“I still want to go back to Syria and fulfill my dream there, in Damascus University,” she added.

[“Source-reuters”]

IIT Delhi to soon set up School of Design for creative buds

The proposal has already been approved by the IIT Senate and is likely to be placed before the Board of Governors later this month.
NEW DELHI: The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here, known for its engineering courses, will soon set up a School of Design for the ones high on creative quotient.

The proposal has already been approved by the IIT Senate and is likely to be placed before the Board of Governors later this month.

“Be it machines or gadgets, what is inside is what engineers design. But for instance, a phone, how should the case be, how should it look like, where and how the buttons should be, this is not something a technocrat can work better upon and there is a need for someone who specialises in product design,” IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao told PTI.

The proposed School of Design will offer Bachelor of Design (BDes), a four-year-long course, and Master of Design (MDes) of two-year duration.

“For the BDes there is a separate entrance test in the country and we will be a part of it. Of course, for creative designs you cannot test one on concepts of Physics, Chemistry and Maths but on the ability of creative thinking which is not an engineer’s domain,” he said.

The institute presently offers Master of Design but only has four faculty members for the course with a limited intake.

“Once we have a full-fledged school of design, we will recruit more faculty for the Masters course and then start offering the Bachelor’s degree,” Rao said.

“For the practical aspects, design students will work with engineers and design products which we will patent and commercialise in the longer run as we do for the technical projects,” he said.

 [Source”timesofindia”]

State Cuts $50 Million In School, Municipal Funding

Gregory B. Hladky

Gregory B. Hladky Contact Reporter

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration announced $50 million in new cuts in state aid to municipalities Thursday, including a $20 million reduction in education funding that local officials said could result in school layoffs.

The announcement comes as a bitter New Year’s gift for financially hard-pressed cities and towns that are already halfway through their fiscal and school years. Administration officials said the cuts had to be made now to achieve the savings goals included in the current 2016-17 state budget.

Malloy’s budget chief, Ben Barnes, said he doesn’t believe the school funding cuts will result in local layoffs. “Certainly there is nothing about this that will force any of these communities into layoffs or cuts that would significantly affect students,” Barnes said.

Barnes added that he expects cities and towns will see “minor adverse consequences” as a result of the loss of state aid.

The school aid cuts for Connecticut’s 48 most distressed cities and towns, including Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, are capped at $250,000, and the funding reductions represent less than 1 percent of what those cities and towns are receiving in total state education aid.

Connecticut’s wealthiest towns are taking the biggest hits in school aid: Greenwich is losing more than $1.3 million, or 90.5 percent of its education cost-sharing money. Salisbury will see its school funding reduced by 81.9 percent and Sharon will suffer a 76.3 percent cut.

“What’s going on is a redistribution of the burden,” Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei said. “The perception of Greenwich is that it’s a super-affluent community. And yes, there’s affluence, but there’s also citizens living at or below state poverty levels.”

Darien’s school aid was chopped by $368,850, a 47.6 percent reduction.

“They’re whittling us down to zero, I’m pretty sure,” Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said. “It’s challenging for Darien, like any town that drafts a balanced budget for July 1 every year and then to have to try to make midyear adjustments.”

The move was criticized by Senate GOP leader Len Fasano.

“This is yet another example of the Democrats’ budget continuing to fail our state and the need to change our approach to budgeting and begin addressing problems now,” Fasano said. “The administration has known since August that they would need to hold back these funds from municipalities. But they chose to wait until now to let towns know how much they would lose … making these cuts more difficult for towns to absorb.”

A similar budget reduction plan was floated earlier this year in which education cost-sharing grants for 28 of the state’s wealthiest school districts would be eliminated with many others being reduced. Under the plan, pitched by Malloy, the funds for the 30 lowest-performing school districts would have been spared. It was never approved after intense criticism from legislators and school officials.

“This is really horrible timing,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who is also president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. He said that reducing aid in the middle of a fiscal year means layoffs may be the only way many communities can immediately deal with the loss of funding.

“Education is one of the most important things we do,” Boughton said. “I was shocked to see that.”

Danbury is losing $250,000 of its $31.5 million in education grants.

“I’m going to have to tell our school superintendent he’s going to have to cut $250,000 or start laying people off,” Boughton said.

Barnes said he doubts Danbury will need to lay off school employees, noting that the aid reduction is .8 percent of the $31.5 million the city receives.

Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, said, “Towns facing cuts in municipal aid will have little or no choice but to delay or suspend critical projects and/or lay off personnel.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]