Mumbai: The nine-year-old Dadar schoolgirl, who was sexually assaulted, accidentally walked into the men’s toilet where the accused, a cleaner-cum-errand boy, was lurking, the police said on Sunday.
Somanth Yadav, who was remanded by the Bhoiwada metropolitan magistrate to police custody till January 12, took advantage of her when he noticed that she was alone. Though there are abrasion marks on her body suggesting sexual assault, preliminary investigations by forensic experts have not found the semen of the accused. The police have held the school management responsible for the lapses.
Yadav was booked under section 377 (unnatural sex) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 4 and 8 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault and punishment for sexual assault and punishment for sexual harassment of children) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Yadav told the police he tried to molest her but when she started crying for help, he panicked and ran away. But the police are not taking his statement at face value and are awaiting the medical report. The girl, who was admitted to a private hospital late on Friday, has been discharged.
The police have seized Yadav’s mobile phone containing some porn. Yadav had come to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh six months back and initially did some odd jobs with the catering company which has the contract at the school and the adjoining ground, rented out for wedding receptions. “We are collecting evidence and will ensure the accused is convicted,’’ said Mahesh Patil, deputy commissioner of police (zone V).
The police will check on Monday if the accused indulged in any such act earlier with other students. The school management was unaware that the caterer’s staff were residing on the school premises and there was no security at the school. The management has called for an urgent meet on Monday to discuss safety measures. It will also decide on the caterer’s contract.
The principal has written to the management demanding CCTV cameras and security guards. “I had written this letter earlier too and have done it again yesterday. Following that, the school management called for a meeting on Monday and we expect the cameras will be installed at the earliest,” said the principal.
The premises until now were guarded only by a peon. “We have told the management to hire security even if it means paying extra. On the weekend, we have stationed a 24-hour guard and the school hall has been locked. We have told him to ensure that the caterer’s staffers do not have access to the school, except the canteen, until the management takes a decision on Monday,” said the principal.
Parents urged the state to make safety measures mandatory for schools. “Most schools take up safety after such an incident, which is not right. There need to be many precautions in place. Schools charge us heavily and on top of the priority list of spending this money is to provide security. If schools aren’t doing it, maybe the government should make it mandatory,” said Prema Raj, a parent from Mulund.
School education minister Vinod Tawde said the state was looking into the issue.
Experts said that not only was there a need for safety infrastructure but schools must also ensure a personal safety education programme to help students identify unsafe situations and avoid a larger problem. “An attitudinal change is required. Even in case of lack of funds, there can be mechanisms to ensure safety if teachers and staffers take up the responsibility. Parents too can be involved,” said Pooja Taparia, founder and CEO of Arpan, which works for the prevention of child sexual abuse. “There are many laws but the problem is implementation. Making safety measures mandatory will be great but there needs to be a body to monitor it,” she added.
Advisory for parents: Signs to look out for * Drop in academic performance * Repeated urinary infections * Unexplained pain or swelling in genital area * Excessive increase/decrease in food intake or sudden
weight loss/gain * Sudden disproportionate fear of a
place/person/colours * Seems sad, talks little * Social withdrawal, hostility or aggression * Suicide attempts * Passive or overly pleasing behaviour * Hints, indirect comments about abuse * Use of abusive sexual language * Sexual activity at an early age
Advisory for schools * Have regular workshops for students and staff to
educate them about child sexual abuse * Have a child protection policy in place * Ensure background checks of all employees * Keep channels of communication open with students
The law | The Protection of Children from Sexual
Offences Act, 2012, provides for severe punishment for
child sexual offenders. The child’s statement must be
recorded at the child’s residence or at a place of his/her
choice. Any person who does not report an offence or
fails to record it is liable for punishment with
imprisonment for up to six months and a fine or both
Helplines Arpan | 2686 2444/2686 8444 Childline | 1098
Five arrested for raping mentally challenged girl in Thane
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Source : The Times Of India