The 100-year-old British-era institution is being run by the Tirunelveli Diocesan Trust Association (TDTA), the biggest in Asia.
Under pressure from VHP, police arrested three government-aided church-run school officials in connection with the killing of three students when a bathroom wall collapsed on them at the school premises on Friday (December 17) morning. Three students were killed on the spot, and four others were injured due to this incident. This is a British-era institution and is over 100 years old. The school is being run by Tirunelveli Diocesan Trust Association (TDTA), established in 1896 and is the biggest in Asia.
VHP district secretary Arumuga Gani told Organiser correspondent, "The students of the government-aided school were queuing up near the toilet when the wall collapsed. It was constructed in 2014 above a closed well. Students were complaining about the weakening of the toilet wall to school management," he said. The dead have been identified as Anbazhagan, Viswaranjan and Sudish, while the injured are Sanjay, Issaki Prakasam, Sheik Abu Bucker and Abdullah. After the tragic incident, school management asked the remaining students to go home, considering their safety and avoiding further trouble. The school declared holidays till December 26.
Within one hour after the mishap, Chief Minister M K Stalin announced a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each to the families of the three students killed in the accident. Meanwhile, District Collector V Vishnu deputed a team to inspect all the old buildings in the district.
VHP demanded the arrest of the Correspondent Selvakumar, School Head Mistress Persis Gnana Selivi and building contractor John Kennedy. The police registered an FIR against the three initially, but later, under pressure from VHP, arrested them in the evening.
Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation, Higher Secondary and CBSE Schools Association General Secretary Nandakumar told media that the government pays for keeping the Schaffter Higher Secondary School building and the salaries of those working there and questioned why the building wasn't maintained properly.
Arumuga Gani said, "Land and school is owned by the Church, but the government pays the salaries of teachers and staff. The school would recruit their people". He pointed out that TDTA owns a large chunk of properties worth several thousand crores. There have been fights between two factions overrunning the trust among the members.
Retired HC judge Paul Vasanthkumar has appointed ex HC judge Rathina raj to inquire into the allegations levelled against the current management team. During the inquiry, it is learnt that there have been instances of mismanagement, nepotism in appointments, corruption in allotting tender to assign maintenance works etc. Contracts were given to people who had not been empanelled. An illegal structure is being built on the Shopping complex building's second to house CSI bell hospital. Its manager is ex MLA Joseph and the Correspondent Jesuraja is the son-in-law of Tirunelveli DMK MP Ganana Thiraviyam. The hospital is being built without approvals from the Corporation.
The DMK controlled JACTO–Geo, a trade union body for Govt. teachers and school staff, didn't utter a word on the issue.