A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. These are the famous words of American journalist and academician Henry Brooks Adams. If the accusations against him are to be believed, there is no doubt that 45-year-old Vitthal Pulya Kodule has affected the lives of several young children. And it’s a tawdry chapter they are unlikely to forget.
Cops on Saturday arrested Kodule, a teacher at Matunga King’s Circle Municipal Marathi School, following accusations of molestation. He was later released on bail. Four girls from the neighbouring Byramjee Jeejeebhoy (BJ) Home for Children at Shraddhanand Road near Shankar Mantham, Matunga (E), came forward and claimed that the teacher used to ask them to lie on their benches and would then touch their private parts.
No minor matter
“The girls reported the matter to us and taking serious note of the incident we immediately approached the Matunga police and registered a complaint against Kodule and also reported the issue to Child Welfare Committee (CWC),” said Maneck Davar, chairman of BJ Home for Children. “Acting on the complaint we arrested Kodule who has been booked for molestation under section 354 of IPC,” said a police officer from Matunga police station, adding, “Kodule was later granted bail by a local court.”
“Students are sent to school with a certain amount of trust, but if teachers start behaving like this, where will the kids go? Also, there needs to be an amendment to the laws as for such a serious crime like child abuse, the teacher has got bail,” said Davar.
Tested to the limit
What’s more, authorities from the orphanage claim they have also received complaints from some of the boys regarding sexual harassment at the hands of Kodule. But they have deferred inquiries into the matter as annual exams of the kids are on. “We don’t want to disturb the children during their exams. We will look into the matter later and have already reported it to police and CWC,” said an official from BJ Home for Children. “Kodule is married and has two kids. We could not investigate the matter properly as he was granted bail. We were hoping to get him in our custody,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity.