Police have detained all the nine accused, most of them teenagers, in the assault case of 34 girls at a residential school in Bihar. The girls were mercilessly beaten up by a mob after they fought off a group of local boys who tried to sexually harass them. The mob had broken into their residential school in Triveniganj, Saupaul district - 250 km from state capital Patna.
Expressing concern over the incident, Supreme Court said, "34 girls beaten up because they wanted to protect themselves from molestation. How could you treat children like this? There are these kind of problem arising days in and days out."
Police had earlier arrested three people and today detained the six others - all of whom were named in a complaint filed. Most of those detained were minors and officials said that they were verifying their age.
The girls - all of them 12 to 16 years old - were admitted to a local hospital and 26 of them have now been released, the police said.
The incident was triggered on Saturday by a clash between the girls and local boys.
Some of the girls had caught a group of boys sneaking into the Kasturba Residential School, a government institution for girls, and asked them to leave. But when the boys refused and misbehaved, the girls beat them up in self defence, said one of the eyewitnesses at the school.
After nearly two hours, around 5 pm, the boys returned with their parents and relatives and barged into the school, the police said, quoting one of the students.
The mob surrounded the campus and targeted the frightened girls and their teachers. Locals said the school had no security system or guards.
In a complaint to the police, the school principal said despite requests to remain calm, the mob beat up the students and teachers.
After the attack, opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav condemned the government in strongest terms. In a series of tweets, Tejashwi Yadav said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has "totally surrendered himself in the hands of goons & Deputy CM is begging mercy to hardened criminals".
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