Mumbai: Boy stalked, bullied, sexually abused by schoolmate, school does nothing
Despite several complaints and a report, abusive Std X student continues to terrorise 11-year-old, as principal and management refuse to act. Mid-day had reported about the August 5 sexual assault
A Std VI student of a convent school in Chembur, who was sexually assaulted in the school toilet by a senior last month, is not doing well. Traumatised and living in constant fear, the 11-year-old has been undergoing psychiatric treatment. His parents had filed a police complaint against the unidentified boy after the August 5 incident. They have now alleged that the accused assaulted and threatened their son again recently, but the school authorities have turned a blind eye to it all.
It's not monsters under the bed or fear of a bogeyman for this student; his every waking moment is filled with dread for and images of the "masked boy", as he calls him, because the accused wore a mask during the assaults.
His parents have said the incidents have left deep mental scars on him, so much that he refuses to even step out of the house without them.
mid-day had reported about the August 5 sexual assault in the toilet, the first one, on August 11. His parents had lodged an FIR with the Govandi police two days after the incident against the unknown boy under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The second attack
On August 9, when the boy was walking to coaching class around 2.30 pm, the "masked boy" attacked him again — he came running up to him, abused him and tore his t-shirt. When the victim's mother called the class to find out if he had reached, the teacher told her that his t-shirt was torn and he was sobbing.
"I went running to the class barefoot and found my child bawling. I took him home and consoled him, but he didn't sleep the entire night. The next day, I took him to a psychiatrist, who sent us to JJ Hospital, where two psychiatrists and three psychologists had sessions with him. They told us that he appeared to be under minor trauma, which would aggravate if such incidents happened again," said his mother.
After the sexual assault, the boy didn't want to go to school and started giving his parents vague reasons to skip classes. The psychiatrists advised them to not force him to go or appear for an ongoing exam.
"He used to mumble in his sleep, and sometimes wake up screaming. Whenever we would try to cajole him to go to school, he would say he won't till the accused was caught," said the boy's father.
A Child Welfare Committee member said, "We took serious cognisance and followed up with police and school authorities to speed things up and catch the accused fast, asking for a detailed report."
"The school and the police assured us that they were working together to catch the accused and would ensure a safe environment for all students. But it's been a month and the accused hasn't been caught, which is worrying," added the member.
Terror at school
After numerous counselling sessions, the boy finally started going to school from September 4 after his parents promised him that one of them would be with him the whole time he was there. "The police also assured us that they would keep guard outside the school in plain clothes," the mother said.
On September 9, neither could be with him. At 10.30 am, during recess, the accused allegedly came up to him and said, "Bahut shaanaa ban raha hai kya? Jaan se maar dunga tujhe" (Are you trying to act smart? I will kill you) and slapped him.
"My son told the principal about it. She said they will look into it. No one said a word about it when the investigating officer met the principal around 12 pm the same day," alleged the mother, adding, "He has been trembling since then, whenever thoughts about what happened come. He thinks the 'masked boy' can come from anywhere to hit him."
When contacted the school authorities, said, "No such incident has happened; if you want any information, talk to the Govandi police."
An officer said, "We have demanded CCTV footage from the school authorities, but they are delaying giving it to us."
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