Mumbai: Family of 4-yr-old did not want to file rape complaint to avoid social stigma

The girl was allegedly raped by a school supervisor last week; an activist wrote to the DCP following which the police approached and convinced the survivor’s family to register the offence

A four-year-old girl was raped inside her school’s toilet allegedly by the supervisor of the school last week. Her family, however, did not approach police after they found out, fearing the social stigma associated with rape.

It was only when a social activist appealed to the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) to intervene, the family was finally persuaded to file a complaint at Bhandup police station on Tuesday. The accused, identified as Kesarinandan Upadhyay (32), was arrested by police yesterday.

Outraged at the incident, a group of people protested outside the school in Bhandup, where the four-year-old studies in Junior KG, before barging inside and damaging property. According to the police, the incident took place on December 9, when the accused saw the girl going to the toilet. He followed her inside and sexually assaulted her.

Initially, the frightened girl did not tell her family, but refused to go to school after complaining of a stomach-ache. Finally, she disclosed the incident to her grandmother, who told her parents. Worried about ruining their image in society, the family decided not to inform the police, cops said.

The survivor’s family took her to Rajawadi Hospital on December 12. “They did not want to disclose the incident to anyone, and did not even admit it to the doctors,” said an officer from Bhandup police station. However, word soon spread around their neighbourhood, and an activist tried to convince them to register a complaint, but they refused.

The social activist decided to write a letter to higher authorities. DCP Vinay Kumar Rathod (Zone VII) told mid-day, “I received an application on Tuesday and informed Bhandup police station to find out about the family. A female sub-inspector and the social activist then approached the family and persuaded them to register the offence.

Cops arrested the accused the next day.” Upadhyay has been booked under sections 354A (physical contacts and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, along with sections  4 (penetrative sexual assault), 8 (sexual assault) and 12 (sexual harassment of the child) of the Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The police are now investigating if the accused had abused any other student in the school.

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