There are a few times in life when you feel like humanity has ended. 8th September 2017 was one such day, when we all read and watched in horror as news of the murder of an innocent little soul made our hearts weep.
Pradyuman Thakur was a Class 2 student studying at Ryan International School, Gurgaon. On 8th September, his lifeless body was found outside the school’s washroom; his throat was slit. After the initial round of investigation, a bus conductor named Ashok, who was working with the school, confessed to the gruesome crime. A simple open and shut case? Why not, here was this conductor who was confessing to the crime. Moreover, there were allegations of him having tried to sexually exploit Pradyuman.
However, after the Haryana government handed over the case to the CBI officials on 15 September, new facts, unanswered questions and discrepancies are coming to the surface. While Ryan International School’s administration is already facing strict action for its serious disregard for security of the students, Ashok has now changed his statement. While initially the school’s conductor confessed to the murder, he is now claiming that the principal of the school as well as the local police forced him to give out a false statement. He is now saying that he is being made a scapegoat. Moreover, the doctor who carried out an autopsy for Pradyuman also dismissed the allegations of sexual assault. According to a report published by Hindustan Times, Dr. Deepak Mathur has stated that the child was not sodomised and in fact, his school uniform did not have any semen on it. However, he also added that the picture would be clearer only after the forensic report is out.
To add to it, even Pradyman’s parents as well as his relatives feel that the conductor is being framed by the school authorities for their own negligence. They firmly believe that the actual culprit is someone else and the police are not doing their best to find him. In fact, Pradyuman’s grieving father said that bus conductor Ashok Kumar could not have carried out the crime on his own. There had to be someone else involved. He believes that the murder of his child is probably a well-hatched conspiracy; everything looks like it had been planned in advance. If it wasn’t, how is it possible that the murderer was already carrying a knife when he visited the kids’ washroom? He also questions that if Ashok Kumar was the killer indeed, why did he not run away from the scene of the crime immediately?
Then there is the case of the curious CCTV footage. The CCTV footage acquired from the camera fixed outside the washroom shows Pradyuman crawling out of the washroom while holding his neck, before collapsing. The footage has also captured Ashok entering and exiting the washroom before the poor child is seen crawling out. However, there is another footage which was recently discovered. It shows the in-charge of junior section at the school, Ms. Anju Dudeja, saying that she and the principal, Ms. Neerja Batra, asked Ashok to bring Pradyuman to the car in which they took him to the hospital.
When Ashok’s sister-in-law Anuradha visited him in the jail, he told her a few things related to the case. According to him, there were two more kids apart from Pradyuman, who were changing their clothes for Karate class. He told Anuradha that after washing his face in the washroom, he came out and started drinking water from a water cooler installed near the washroom. While he was doing so, a teacher started yelling as to what had happened to the child. She asked Ashok to pick him up. According to Anuradha, Ashok also told her that along with the teacher, the premises where the crime happened also had the school principal and a 6 feet tall man wearing black goggles standing right there. Apparently, the police has zero information about this goggled man. He also mentioned about how he is being tortured by the authorities inside the jail. He is been given injections and shock treatments in order for him to falsely confess to the crime.
But he has promised to tell the truth in court. All we can do is hope and pray that Pradyuman’s grief- stricken parents get the justice they have been waiting for.