11 people of a boarding school for tribal children in Maharashtra were arrested on Thursday for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl. It was suspected that the accused might have raped other 12 girls of the school.
The headmaster of the Ninadhi Ashram school in Buldhana district was also arrested under India’s anti-child sexual abuse law as he didn’t take any action after the victim complained to him.
News 18 reported that seven out of them were the teachers in the school and the others were the staffs.
The case was filed under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children for Sexual Offenses (POSCO) act.
According to police, the crime was known after the girl went home for Diwali and complained of stomach pain. Later, authorities confirmed the girl was pregnant.
The police formed a special investigation team to probe the incident. The main accused was the sweeper Ittusingh Pawar, who was also a former student of the school.
The other accused were assistant Swapnil Lakhe, superintendent-cum-rector Narayan Ambhore, cook Deepak Kokre, chairman of the school Gajanan Kokre, teachers Mantha Kokre, Lalita Vajire and Shewanta Raut and trust members Purushottam Kokre and Sanjay.
Another report said that the headmaster Digambar Kharat was also involved in the case.
The girl was taken for the medical test. Buldhana superintend of police, Sanjay Kumar Baviskar said, “Once medical tests are done, a woman IPS officer will question the girl to know what has actually happened.”
A report of News 18 alleged that other two girls were also suspected pregnant.
Maharashtra has more that 1000 schools which are either run by the state government or by trusts supported by the government. The schools are meant to educate children from poor families.
This tribal school is among those ashramshalas. Around 445,000 students are studying in those schools, out of which 200,000 of them are girls.
The opposition highly criticized the incident. The Nationalist Congress Party made an allegation that there were other girls who were raped in the school.
The NCP representative Nawab Malik said, “After one girl who got pregnant raised her voice, other girls came forward. Initially, the police were unwilling to file a complaint but after political intervention, a case has been registered.”
He demanded the resignation of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on moral grounds. He stated that all the the students of the ashramshalas, all the boys and girls must be taken for medical tests. “With this, we will come to know how many students are facing such sexual assaults so that the culprits can be punished.”
The chairperson of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women, Vijaya Rahatkar today met with Devendra Fadnavis and asked him for fast-track investigation into the matter.