Worried parents who have been pushing for female attendants on school buses have something new to be concerned about. Police have arrested the attendant of a bus at a well-known school in Ghatkopar for supplying a six-year-old student to paedophiles.
The traumatised boy who was subjected to torment for several months finally opened up to his parents, after which the local physician discovered injuries on his private parts. “We have arrested the bus attendant, Farha Sheikh and she has been remanded in police custody.
Farha has been denying all the allegations but we are trying to get the truth out of her,” confirmed Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni of (Zone V). In her statement, the mother of the Senior KG student revealed that Farha forced her son to accompany the main accused identified as Prithvi and Kaif to a hotel room in Andheri, where he was sexually assaulted.
In wrong hands
The six-year-old boy’s mother used to drop him to a nearby creche every morning at 8 am on her way to work. A woman in the creche had been appointed to wait at the bus stop with the boy, make sure that he had safely boarded it, and pick him up from the same stop later after school hours. The boy’s mother would then pick him up late in the evening on her way home from work. DCP Kulkarni said, “Though we have arrested the attendant, there is no further evidence on the accused. The victim’s mother is also unaware of them.”
A few weeks ago, the boy started suffering from ill health and started showing extreme reluctance to go to school. When his mother tried to cajole him to return to his classes, he complained to her about ‘uncles’ who was forcing him to ‘hug and kiss’ him. On March 18, the boy started screaming in his sleep, begging for mercy and asking an imagined assailant to leave him alone, his mother said in her statement.
Worried, his parents rushed the child to a family physician, who confirmed that he had been sexually assaulted. The couple then approached the VB Nagar police station and registered a case with them. Kulkarni added, “We are inquiring with the school and bus officials, who are on contract with the school and the crèche. We are probing the matter from each and every angle.”
Asked whether the remaining two accused are the driver or the cleaner of any other bus providing service to the school, Kulkarni said, “There are six buses serving the school, but no one of the name of Prithvi or Kaif works on them.” The investigators are now verifying with the school records as well as the creche staff for leads.
The three accused have been booked under Section 377 (unnatural offence), 363 (kidnapping), 506 (criminal intimidation), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance) while the arrested accused Farha was presented in court and has been remanded in police custody.
Penalty for silence
Schools have been notified that under section 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, any person who fails to inform the police about incidents of child sexual assault faces 6 months in prison, or a fine, or both.
Feb 20: A bus cleaner kissed a 3-year-old girl and touched her inappropriately when she was alone in the bus while she was being dropped home
Jan 18: A 35-year-old conductor sexually assaulted a 4-year-old nursery student of a premier Juhu school on a moving school bus