''It's been 24 days since my daughter was raped in school"

''It's been 24 days since my daughter was raped in school'
His seven-year-old daughter was raped in a toilet in her school in Goa on January 14. Three weeks later, her father says he will go on a hunger strike because the man who entered the school and assaulted his daughter has yet to be traced. The headmistress of the school was arrested for negligence but released on bail.  The police has accused two other staff members for destruction of evidence as they washed the blood stained clothes of the girl and cleaned the floor.

Here, the child's father shares his ordeal:  

It's been 24 days since my daughter was raped in her school. Through these days, we have done everything to get justice and find the criminal who did that to her.

As a frustrated father, I have now decided to go on a hunger strike within the next six days. I'm going to spend the next few days informing the authorities about my decision. I will take official police permission to sit outside the school until the rapist is arrested and everyone protecting him is behind bars.

My daughter is just seven years old but has helped the police to the best she can. She told them how the man spoke to her in Hindi. How she has seen him in the Head Mistress' cabin. How his name is Monty. But none of this has been used by the police to nab the culprit. I am told that the Chief Minister made an announcement in the Assembly about cracking this case soon, but nothing has come of that. The Head Mistress was arrested, and then granted bail in two days. What about the teacher and the head clerk who washed my daughter's clothes, bathed her, cleaned the bathroom and destroyed valuable evidence. Why didn't they get arrested?

Over the last few weeks, the police have shown up at my door step whenever there is a media report based on my interviews. A few more questions are asked and nothing else.  I have given umpteen statements to them. In the meanwhile, my daughter stays traumatised at home.

She is now scared of simple acts like brushing her teeth and having a bath. She wants her mother to accompany her all the time. She hides under the bed saying the man will come and get her again. She has nightmares and often just cries. This has impacted my older daughter too who also doesn't want to go to school. She says the man will attack her too. Through these days, not a single teacher has come to our home to ask us about the girls.

However, I have got great support from other parents who have offered to go on this hunger strike with me. They formed a committee of 25 parent members and say they will protest outside the school with me. They have prepared letters and say will mobilise the local politicians too.

As a father, I was shocked at how such an incident could happen in the protective environs of her school, but I am determined to make sure that the man who did this to her goes to jail.

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