It’s official ---- schools are no longer safe havens for children outside their homes. The Vanrai police arrested the watchman of a school in Goregaon (East) on Tuesday for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old Std IX student of the school. This is the fourth instance this year in which an accused has been booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. While one of the incidents took place within a school bus, another case, that of sodomy, took place inside a madarsa.
According to the police, the accused Harish Tiwari (50) lured the student into his cabin inside the school premises and molested her. The incident took place on January 19 after school hours. The girl, in her statement, said that she had an examination that day. Finding the paper easy, she completed answering it half-an-hour ahead of time and left the classroom while her colleagues were still giving the exam. She was waiting for her friends outside the classroom when the watchman asked her to sit and wait in his cabin.
“When the girl entered the cabin, Tiwari asked her if she was hungry. The girl replied that she was carrying her tiffin box. She opened it and began eating, when the watchman offered her snacks. He then stood behind the girl and wrapped his arms around her. “The shocked girl froze when Tiwari demanded a kiss from her. Alarmed by his proposition, she screamed and fled from the cabin,” said Pravin Patil, deputy commissioner of police (zone XI). The traumatised child told her mother what had transpired inside the watchman’s cabin.
Her mother then approached the school authorities, who conducted an enquiry. “On Monday, the school authorities submitted a written letter informing us about the incident after having dismissed Tiwari. Based on the letter, we conducted the investigations by recording statements of the girl and her parents,” said Patil. Following the investigations, Tiwari was arrested on charges of molestation and under Sections 4, 10 and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The police presented Tiwari in court on Wednesday, which has remanded him to judicial custody.
History of shame
Cases in which the police have applied the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 this year
>> January 29
The Oshiwara police arrested a 25-year-old man for allegedly raping his five-year-old niece. The man had raped his niece when her mother had stepped out for work.
>> January 18
The Juhu police arrested Ramesh Rajput, a school bus driver-cum-cleaner for molesting a four year-old girl inside the bus while dropping her home from school.
>> January 10
70-year-old Niyaz Ahmad Hasan Raza was arrested by the Shivaji Nagar police for sodomising a 13-year-old girl and recording an MMS of the act, which he then circulated. Ansari took the girl to the first floor room of Bilal Masjid in Govandi on the pretext of providing her with notes for a poem, and then repeatedly committed the offence.