Pune school teacher held for abusing girls under pretext of 'punishment'
The Pune school teacher used to call the female students one by one during lunch under the pretext of punishing them and then proceeded to sexually abuse them
The Vimantal police arrested a 43-year-old school teacher on Thursday for allegedly sexually abusing students under the pretext of giving them punishment. He has been charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The teacher used to call the female students one by one during lunch under the pretext of punishing them and then proceeded to sexually abuse them. The incident was reported to the police by education officer Neelima Madhukar Mhetre on Thursday.
The alleged mistreatment had been going on for the last six months at a school being run by the Pune Zilla Parishad. Speaking to mid-day, Mhetre who works as an education officer in the Haveli area, said, "On March 30, after getting their exam results, a few girls from the sixth grade complained about punishment being given by the teacher and said they don't want to return to school.
Based on this, the education department was alerted and an internal committee was formed to check why this happened. Some teachers claimed he seemed to be harassing the girls with his punishment as the students were often found crying." The committee included a few officers from the education department, panchayat committee and school teachers.
She added, "Based on the statement of a teacher, we approached two of the girls, but they were not ready to talk about the incident. Later, we developed a rapport with them and they spoke to us in the presence of their parents. They said that during lunch time, the teacher would call them and abuse them. He used to touch their genitals and if they screamed, he would gag them. He would insist that this was a punishment and threaten them against revealing this to anyone."
Senior inspector of the Vimantal police station Rajendra Patil said, "In this case, around 12 girls and their parents have approached us. Based on Mhetre's probe, we have registered a case. Few of the girls are in trauma and not willing to go back to school. We are counselling them. Meanwhile, we have arrested the teacher. He used to target sixth standard students on petty issues. He would call them and ask them to show their homework, after which he would sexually abuse them."
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