School authorities of Laxminaryan Malu High School in Jaysingpur taluka, Kolhapur district, have come under fire for turning a blind eye towards the sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old girl student by one of the schoolteacher and four ex-students.
The Jaysingpur police officials arrested the teacher and detained one of the four minor boys for their involvement in the case on Monday. The victim had told her parents on Saturday that she had been gang-raped on several occasions by her teacher Devidas Raut and the four boys. She said the accused also made an MMS clip of the rape.
Soon after the incident came to light, various NGOs and political parties - BJP, MNS and Shiv Sena - demanded stringent action against the school authorities, including the school principal, whom they accused of overlooking the matter and shielding the accused.
"The victim is a student of Std VIII of Laxminarayan Malu High School and Devidas works as the physical health teacher in the school. He used to ask the victim to visit him under the pretext of teaching them Judo and Karate, and formed a close bond with her. He, along with four ex-students of the school, gang-raped her. They also filmed an MMS clip of the rape on their mobiles," Deputy Superintendent of Police Dilip Kadam said.
The accused also threatened the girl by showing her the video clip of the incident and said they would kill her brother if she dropped their names.
"The entire episode went on for three months and the girl was living in constant fear. But on July 28 she broke her silence after the harassment by Devidas and the boys reached a point where she couldn't bear it any longer and narrated the entire incident to her mother," Kadam said.
Her parents approached the Jaysingpur police station officials and filed a complaint against the teacher and the four boys. Raut and one of the minor boys were detained yesterday. They were booked under Sections 341, (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 366 (Kidnapping), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), 35 (common Intention) and IT Act 67.
While Raut was produced in the court and remanded in police in custody till August 4, the minor boy was sent to the observation home.
"We have launched a manhunt to nab the three boys who are at large, and they will be nabbed soon," Assistant Police Inspector Jaysingh Riswadkar of Jaysingpur police station said. BJP city vice president Nita Kelkar alleged that school principal should had been arrested as the girl had initially approached him and complained about the sexual exploitation she had been subjected to by the accused. Kelkar said the principal did not pay heed to the victim's complaint, and asked her to remain silent.
"The principal did not pay attention to the girl's complaint and rusticated her from the school when she tried to harm herself," Kelkar said.
Striking down Kelkar's allegation against the principal, DSP Kadam said the girl was not rusticated from the school. It was the girl's parents who had approached the school and asked for her leaving certificate.
The victim was sent to her uncle's place in Kolhapur as the entire incident had shocked her.
The principal of the Laxminaryan Malu High School was unavailable for comment.School ransacked
An angry mob comprising members of NGOs and various political parties took out a morcha outside the school yesterday and ransacked principal's office along with school infrastructure.
"We have met the Inspector General of Kolhapur range, Tukaram Jadhav, and submitted the memorandum and sought a detailed investigation in the matter as we suspect that this incident is just a tip of the iceberg," Shiv Sena leader advocate Sambhajiraje Naik said.Teacher suspended
Deputy Education Officer of Kolhapur district Trusha Patil, who investigated the case, said he visited the school and asked the school authorities to suspend the teacher.
"The teacher has been suspended. I spoke to the girl's parents and assured them that guilty will be punished. At present the girl needs counselling as she has been traumatised by the incident," said Patil. "The departmental as well as police inquiry is on and if any of the school staff is involved in this case, they too will be punished."