Girl gets admission following SDM’s intervention

Justice was finally delivered to a 14-year-old gang-rape victim of a village in Bijnore district of Uttar Pradesh, denied admission at a local school. The district administration ordered the suspension of the headmaster and a class four employee, one of the four accused in the case, who had even served a jail term but was allowed to resume his duties after his release.

Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Raj Bhanu Pratap confirmed over phone from Bijnore that the rape victim was admitted to Class 7 on Friday, following the intervention of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Dhampur Prakash Gupta.

The move to deny admission to the girl on the ground that the other children would be “polluted” was taken by the headmaster with the gram pradhan and members of the village panchayat and the local Shiksha Samiti.

Mr. Gupta, who conducted an enquiry, told The Hindu that the headmaster even managed to produce some schoolchildren, who were tutored to state that “if the girl was admitted they will discontinue their studies.”

The girl was gang-raped by four youths of the same village in April. An FIR was lodged at the Sherkot police station. The four accused were arrested and among them was the employee of the school. An enquiry conducted by the SDM found that he was allowed to join duty after his release in May.

“If a government employee is sent to jail he has to be suspended within 48 hours, but this was not done in this case,” Mr. Gupta said.

With the start of the new academic session in July, the victim’s father applied for admission of his daughter but was made to run from pillar to post for about 15 to 20 days by the headmaster on one pretext or the other — getting a transfer certificate (TC) from the school where she earlier studied and then asking the father to get it counter-signed. It was obvious that he was under pressure from the village panchayat not to admit the rape victim.

A meeting was held at the school on Thursday with the parents and guardians of the children, who were supposedly opposed to the girl’s admission, members of the Shiksha Samiti and gram panchayat members in attendance. It was then decided to deny admission to the girl.

“When the enquiry team visited the village on Friday the headmaster admitted that the meeting was held but denied that a move to deny admission to the girl was on the agenda. It was the girl’s father who spilled the beans,” the SDM added.