BENGALURU: “The police misled me on the sexual assault of a three-year-old girl at an Indiranagar school. When I asked the police on Monday night, they told me that they had not detained anyone in connection with the incident. But later I came to know through the media that the security guard had been picked up,” said Ms Kripa Alva, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR), on Tuesday.
“I have sought reports from the school, police and DPI. I spoke to the victim’s mother, who told me that the child was always eager to go to school. She would get all things related to school herself. But today, the child is saying that she is not interested in going to school. I am visiting the school on Wednesday," she said.
Meanwhile, the Block Education Officer (BEO-North 1), Mr V. Ramesh, gave a clean chit to the school for security and other measures taken as prescribed by the Department of Public Instruction. Mr Ramesh said that the school has enough CCTV cameras on its premises. Other safety and security measures too were in place, he stated. “The school has a valid recognition letter from the DPI. Background Verification of all the staff members has also been done. We are waiting for the police investigation report,” he said.
School Secretary Anil Kumar tried to deny that the incident occurred on the school premises. “As per the CCTV video footage we have submitted to the police, the child arrived in the school at 8.35 am with her father. She was taken inside the classroom by the schoolteacher. She left the school at 11.55 am, and again her father came to pick her up. Both times, the class teacher accompanied her," he said.
On allowing the security guard to stay inside the campus, Mr. Kumar said security guard and his wife are taking care of all the children along with women teachers.
Child helpline to counsel students
The Child Helpline has decided to send a team of counselors to the school on Wednesday to talk to the students.
Protesters fight with police
Mr Manjunath Shetty, police inspector of the Indiranagar Police Station, said that the police were trying to move the protesters away from the school, as the Pocso Act makes it mandatory to protect the identity of the child sexual assault victim.
The women protesters alleged that some local residents and autorickshaw drivers joined the police in assaulting them. They alleged that some of the protesters were also molested. Ms Merci, one of the victims of the assault, alleged, “We were holding a peaceful protest, demanding representatives of the school management to come out of the school premises and accept the responsibility. We made several attempts to meet the management, but could not. As we were leaving the spot, a few policemen pushed us, which led to the fistfight. The policemen also roughed up some of us.”
Later, the protesters gathered in front of the Indiranagar police station and carried placards with messages “I am ashamed to call myself an Indian,” and “Please don’t look at us differently. We are also Indians and not Chinese, Japanese or Koreans”. One of the protesters, Helena, who charged at the Indiranagar sub-inspector, was taken into custody.
Mr Thangminlal Haokip sustained injuries on his legs and body. Mr T. Michael, president of Thadou Students’ Association, said, “The school management showed us the CCTV footage to prove that the incident did not occur on the school premises. We were, however, not convinced."
A few members of Mums of Bengaluru, a Facebook community, which has over 20,000 members, took to the streets and visited the Indiranagar police station demanding speedy action in the sexual assault case.
A few women protesters alleged that in the melee, the policemen tore their clothes, laughed at them and shooed them away. Lalneo Thadou, who works in a private firm, was allegedly assaulted by locals along with the police. He said that an autorickshaw driver charged at him and punched him in his stomach and back....