The raid on the centre, located some 215 kilomeres from here, took place on Sunday and its owner, identified as 39-year-old Jaysukh Sankhalva, was arrested on Monday, said Rajkot Superintendent of Police Balram Meena.
“He was arrested under IPC and Epidemic Diseases Act provisions for disobeying police notification on Covid-19 norms as well as for negligent act which may spread infection. The children have been handed over to their parents,” he said.
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According to police, Sankhalva runs a coaching centre-cum-hostel to provide training to students appearing for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and Balachadi Sainik School entrance exams.
“Based on a tip off, we raided the premises and found 555 students between the age of 9-10 taking tuition. These children were not wearing masks nor was social distancing being maintained. The centre was functioning despite the state government’s ban on classroom teaching due to the Covid-19 outbreak,” Jasdan police station sub inspector JH Sisodiya said.
Before his arrest, Sankhalva told reporters the students were staying in his hostel since May 15 with parental consent.
“Most of them are supposed to appear for Navodaya Vidyalaya entrance test, which got postponed. The parents of these children asked me to keep them in the hostel rather than send them home,” he claimed.