There are indications that Guwahati police will soon get tough with schools that have not bothered to install closed circuit cameras so far. Such action has become necessary in the aftermath of the dramatic rescue of a kidpped school kid from Fatasil area in the city recently. The police operation succeeded within 10 hours of kidp of the five-and-a-half year old boy from a prep school in Christianbasti area. What shocked parents was the utter irresponsibility of the school magement, who apart from failing to have CCTV monitoring in the premises, also broke their own rules to allow strangers to take away the child without cross-checking their identity. Fortutely, the police maged to access CCTV footage from a nearby building which showed two scooter-borne youths riding out from the school with the child in between. After the prime suspect was iled, it became possible for the police team to storm their hideout. With the increasing frequency of such incidents across the country, parents are a stressed lot after dropping children at school. In fact, things are getting more bizarre with a seven-year old schoolboy stabbed to death in a Gurugram school last year by a senior boy who wanted a parents-teacher meet and an exam to be postponed; in another similar incident this month, a six-year old schoolboy was knifed in a Lucknow school by a senior girl because she needed a holiday. Responding to public outcry after the rape of a child by a cleaner in a Delhi school, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that all government schools in the capital city will be fitted with CCTV cameras. The Maharashtra government has gone a step farther by making it mandatory for all day-care centres and playschools to install cameras after a 10-month-old girl was assaulted by an attendant at a vi Mumbai day-care centre. The country has thus entered an era in which parents feel the need to keep a constant eye on school-going children through phone apps. Some schools are already advertising such live-streaming services to assure parents of real-time view of classroom and school premises. This may distract parents at their work, create a trust deficit vis-a-vis schools, and also eble other people to watch their children at school. But with schools at risk from delinquents and predators, heightened surveillance and security measures are inevitable. If it signifies farewell to the carefree innocence of yore, so be it.
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