Karnataka

3-year-old sexually assaulted

Expressing outrage: Parents protesting at the play school in Bengaluru on Monday.  

Barely 10 days after a three-and-a-half-year old girl was molested at a play school in the city, a similar incident has come to light again. In this case, too, the girl is three-and-a-half-years-old. She was allegedly sexually assaulted by a non-teaching staff member employed at a national pre-school chain on Friday.

The accused, Manjunath V, who worked as a supervisor at the school in Bengaluru, was arrested when the child’s parents lodged a police complaint on Friday. A case has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

According to the mother, the child was crying and complaining for the past one month. She had said she did not want to go to the play school.

Allegation of apathy

“On Friday, my daughter came home in tears and told me that a bhaiya had touched her,” said the mother, adding that her worst fears came true. “She said she had pain in her private parts. I took her to the hospital and was shocked to hear that she had been assaulted.”

What further angered her was the alleged apathy of the school director. “We reported the incident to the school director on Friday. But the authorities refused to believe what my daughter said. They even refused to lodge a police complaint. We went to the police station ourselves. The police acted swiftly and arrested the culprit the same day.”

Enraged parents

More than 70 parents of students gathered on the play school premises on Monday, demanding answers from the authorities.

“As it is a franchise, the senior authorities of the chain told us that they would organise a meeting at 4 p.m. But the management did not turn up, and the school director was unable to give satisfactory answers,” said a parent.

The playschool has 160 students in nursery and kindergarten and has employed 35 teaching and non-teaching staff. Its director said the accused, Manjunath, had been working with them for the past eight years. “His services were terminated on Saturday. We had done his background verification. We are cooperating with the police and have handed the CCTV footage to them,” the director said.

The director also refuted allegations that the school did not cooperate with the parents. The girl’s mother is demanding that action be taken against the director as well, and said that one of Manjunath’s duties was to handle and log CCTV footage.

“The school did inform us orally of the incident,” the police said, refuting the parents’ allegation.

Another parent said that her child too had been crying for the past two weeks. “She kept saying that the accused did something to her. But I never paid attention to it. I will take her for a medical check-up,” said a parent who was protesting at the school on Monday.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 2:48:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/3yearold-sexually-assaulted/article17335866.ece

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