In an incident highlighting the carelessness often shown by school authorities, a school staffer molested a 5-year-old girl who studies in a high-profile international school in Kandivli. But it seems that she wasn’t the first victim to fall prey to the heinous molester.
According to the girl’s statement to the police, the accused was molesting another victim when the 5-year-old entered the school washroom. Upon seeing her, the accused went ahead and sexually abused her too. The victim’s parents have registered a complaint with the Kandivli police following which they have begun recording statements from the school staff.
The child’s parents got to know about the incident on August 10 when the mother noticed changes in her daughter’s behavior. The little girl who was usually cheerful suddenly became very quiet and the mother asked her if she was facing any problems.
After several attempts, the child opened up and informed her mother regarding the sexual abuse she had suffered from an ‘uncle’ at school who touched her private parts. The girl added that the man was abusing another girl when she entered the washroom and saw what was happening.
The accused then approached her and started abusing her as well. He later threatened the girl not to reveal anything to anyone about the incident. The traumatised girl did not attend school on August 6. Upon learning about the incident, the mother informed her husband and the very next day, on August 11, they approached the principal with a complaint.
Dissatisfied with the school’s bland reaction, they later approached the police, where officials registered a case under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and section 4 (aggravated non-penetrative sexual assault) and 8 (abetment of offence) of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
No CCTV footage
On Tuesday, police summoned the fourth grade staff of the school. They said that there are CCTV cameras installed all over the school premises but it only stores data for one week and therefore, the footage of the day when the incident occurred has been erased.
The police have however, obtained other CCTV footage. They will now verify the location of each staff member on the day of the incident. “The complaint has been filed and we are investigating the case. We have taken the statements of the school staff,” said SPI Mukund Pawar of Kandivli police station.
School still in denial
Meanwhile, when mid-day contacted the school, they refused to accept that such an incident has occurred in their premises but they have assured to assist the police and punish whoever is found guilty.
The other side
The principal of the school said that 15 days before the incident, the teacher had noticed that the victim was not comfortable and therefore the school had informed her parents too. “We can’t believe that such a thing has happened in our school.
But we have assured the police that if someone from the school has taken part in exhibiting such inhuman behavior, we will co-operate with the police and do the needful,” she said. The principal added that the girl is from upper KG and her class is on the first floor, where there are 300 students. Every class has a teacher and a domestic help.
“We take great measures to avoid any kind of inconvenience to children. The school has tight security. The toilets for boys and girls are different. We have a counsellor, who keeps a watch on each and every student and if they find any change in anyone’s behaviour, we call their parents.”