The 16 nursery children were locked up in the basement for 5 hours for not paying fees on time. [Representational image]Creative commons

In a shocking incident that took place in New Delhi, a school locked up 16 nursery children in the basement for 5 hours for not paying fees on time.

Parents claim they had paid school fees

The incident took place in Rabea Girls' Public School in Hauz Qazi on Monday (July 9). According to the parents, the children were confined in the basement without food or water. The matter came to light when the parents returned to pick up the children, who are between the age of four and five.

"When we arrived to pick our children, the teachers told us that they had been locked up in the basement as we hadn't paid their fees for June. However, we had paid advance fees up to September," Hindustan Times quoted a parent as saying.

Other parents even produced receipts to prove that their children were harassed despite them having paid the fees.

Were the children mistreated?

Parents have claimed that the children were wrongfully confined and were mistreated. Reports have claimed that the parents have now filed a complaint about their wards being made to sit on the ground in hot and humid conditions.

"We rushed to the basement and rescued the children. There was no ventilation in the room and my child was crying," The Hindu quoted Fatima Begum, a parent, as saying.

"I dropped my daughter off at school around 7 am. When I came to pick her up at 12.30 pm, I did not find her in her classroom. I was informed by the school staff that my daughter has been locked up in the basement. I rushed to the basement where I found my daughter sitting on the floor. All children were confined in a small room under inhumane conditions with no fans and ventilation," said Mohammad Asif, another parent.

In fact, a news channel even showed some children crying in the "basement" where they were allegedly locked up.

Principal rubbishes confinement allegations

However, the principal has denied the allegations that the school children werepunished.

"The basement is not a punishment place; it is an activity room where children play and learn music. It is a kind of classroom," said the principal, reported HT.

A teacher at the school said that the confusion must have stemmed from the fact that a teacher's slip, which is usually attached to the fee slip might not have been handed over to the teachers.

"There was confusion over fee submission as the school was not informed by the school administration. It will be clarified with the accounts section. Some parents have not submitted a 'teacher copy' to the school and it created the confusion," said the teacher.

Meanwhile, the police have registered a case under section 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code and section 75 (cruelty to child) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also sought a report.