The parents of a three-year-old child who allegedly suffered sexual abuse in school say they are being pressured not to press for a police case against the school and its management.
The alleged incident took place at a private, primary school in Hyderabad three months ago, just a week after the child had joined school. The three-year-old told her grandmother about a bearded man at school who had touched and hurt her private parts.
A private hospital, where the girl was then taken to for examination, said she was possibly sexually assaulted.
An audio clip of the child being spoken to by an investigation officer, shared with NDTV, is heart-wrenching as the child says a "beard uncle" had touched her private parts for a "long time".
The accused was arrested and sent to jail after the parents filed a police complaint, but the girl was made to identify him after all male teachers and staff of the school were lined up.
"The accused is in jail for the past 83 days. Ample evidence has been collected and the investigation is in progress," the Cyberabad police said.
The parents say they later discovered, from what their daughter told them, that possibly the abuse happened more than once, and the owner of the school, who happens to be the sister of the accused, had washed and cleaned the child and made her wear clothes again.
The parents say they approached the police again to insist they want the school administration to also be booked but they were told by cops that the case would be weakened and they should just settle for a compromise without naming school authorities.
"The child psychologist says there could be other children who were abused. Some may not have reported it and would be going through immense trauma. The other parents must know so they can be careful with the children. I feel so miserable for failing to protect my child, though she gave us some hints in terms of behaviour change," the parents of the child say.
"In such cases, reporting itself is rare. The child herself may not reveal and nor do the parents. But for the police to call the child to the police station for an identification parade, is a violation of child rights and law," says child rights activist Achyutha Rao.