Indian embassy in Qatar defends its stance on tragic death, highlights Indian schools’ responsibilities

May 23, 2010

The Indian embassy has told the Indian schools in Qatar that the safety, security and well-being of their students are their responsibility alone.

Addressing a monthly community meeting, Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, India’s ambassador in Qatar, said that the community school operators have often been told that they should not compromise on the safety and security of the children at their institutions.

The diplomat’s statement followed last week’s tragic death of Sarah Gazdhar, a four-year-old girl who did not get off at her school and was subsequently forgotten in the locked school bus operated by DPS-Modern Indian School and died of heat and suffocation.

The tragedy shocked the nation and the Indian community said that more precautions and better measures should be taken to ensure it is not repeated. Several parents have complained about negligence.

However, the Indian ambassador rejected allegations that her embassy “remained a mute spectator of the whole incident”, a charge leveled at a meeting of parents of DPS-MIS students on Wednesday.

Wadhwa said the mission had assumed its duties in the wake of the tragedy, contrary to what some people alleged through newspapers.

“I need to say that the school authorities have been gracious enough to inform the embassy soon after the tragic death of the child and they kept us informed of all developments that followed one after another,” she said.

The ambassador said that she and another senior official visited the family of the victim soon after the tragic incident and an embassy representative attended the funeral on Wednesday.

According to the envoy, “a section of the media was sensationalising the whole issue,” with the intention “to put the community and in particular the school in a bad light.”

Unnecessary sensationalising should have been avoided, she said.

The ambassador charged that those clamouring for the closure of DPS-MIS “did not think twice about the future of more than 3,200 students studying there.” The demand for the school’s closure came up at the parents’ meeting.

The ambassador said the diplomatic mission has been “doing whatever possible within its limits” on the issue.

“I have met the management of DPS-MIS and a meeting with the representatives of other schools will be held soon,” she said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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