In a shocking incident, 12 minor tribal girl students have been allegedly raped by their teachers and headmaster. Aged between 12 and 14, these girls were studying in a private boarding school, Ninadhi Ashran School in Hivarkheda in Bhuldhana district of Maharashtra, 450 km from Mumbai. Police sources say that seven teachers are currently in custody and a probe is under way.
SD Baviskar, Superintendent of Police, Buldhana, said: “The incident occurred just before Diwali. We have sent women police officials to talk to the victims and take their statements. So far, 10 teachers have been accused, and seven have been arrested.”
This barbaric act came to light only when three of the 12 girls returned home to Halkheda village in Muktainagar taluka in Jalgaon district. Recounting the incident, Bulesterni Sati Bhosale, Deputy Sarpanch of Halkheda village, said: “During Diwali, many girls were running and playing. But three girls (who are related to her) were sitting quietly in a corner. When we asked them why they were not playing, they said they had stomach pain and were feeling something heavy in their stomachs. When we took them to the doctor, he told us that these girls were pregnant.”
Police say that all the 12 girls have currently been sent to a hospital in Akola district. As far as the accused are concerned, the Deputy Sarpanch said that the relatives have lodged a complaint in the Khamgaon police station in Buldhana district. An emotive Bhosale said: “We want all culprits to be given capital punishment. The government should spare no one.”
Local police said that they are calling all staffers of the school for an inquiry. “Most of the accused in this rape cases are local teachers, headmaster, peons and other staffers. No one should run away. Therefore, we are taking most of them into custody. Initially, 12 tribal minors are suspected of having been raped though the numbers could be much more,” a senior police officer said.
Muktainagar MLA Eknath Khadse said that everything possible was being done to help these girls and their families. “Bulesterni Sati Bhosale, Deputy Sarpanch of Halkheda, told me about the rape and that three girls were pregnant. I immediately called the Jalgaon police and sought an inquiry. They called the Buldhana police because the incident happened there. The government will take cognisance of the case and the culprits will be given capital punishment,” Khadse said.
This tragic incident has already started taking a political turn as Chitra Wagh, Women’s Wing President of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), condemned the incident and demanded the resignation of Maharashtra’s Women and Child Minister Pankaja Munde and Tribal Minister Vishnu Savara.
“The law and order situation has gone for a toss. There is no fear of law. Both the ministers have failed to protect children. They should take moral responsibility, and resign immediately,” Wagh said.
Republished from DNA news, November 4, 2016.
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