TAMIL NADU

More sexual abuse cases; teacher, mason held

Officials from the Child Welfare Committee, who conducted an enquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of a few girl students on Thursday.— PHOTO: E. LAKSHMI NARAYANAN

Officials from the Child Welfare Committee, who conducted an enquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of a few girl students on Thursday.— PHOTO: E. LAKSHMI NARAYANAN  

Invoking for the first time the stringent provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which came into force on November 14 last, the Salem City Police on Thursday arrested a 51-year old school teacher of the Salem Government School for Blind on various charges of sexual abuse and harassment of visually challenged girls, all aged between 6 and 8 studying in the school, here.

The teacher was later remanded to judicial custody by the Judicial Magistrate No.3 and was sent to the Salem Central Prison, City Police Commissioner K. C. Mahali told The Hindu .

The teacher, however, denied the allegations saying that he was being targeted for being strict.



The Act, which activists claim as “gender-neutral,” point out that Section 7 says whoever, with sexual intent, touches the parts of the child or makes the child touch the parts of accused or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to commit sexual assault while Section 9 defines the management or staff of an educational institution or religious institution, (who is) committing sexual assault on a child in that institution. Section 11 says that a person is said to commit sexual harassment upon a child when such person with sexual intent utters any word or makes any sound with the intention that such word or sound shall be heard by child.

On Wednesday, parents of four visually-challenged girls studying in Classes 1 and 3 alleged that their daughters were sexually harassed by a teacher.

They contacted Child Line activists who in turn conveyed to officials of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). A preliminary investigation, according to CWC members, reportedly confirmed the sexual harassment charges. P. Devaki, District Child Protection Officer, and Kamatchi, CWC member, held further enquiry with girls and parents.

“Based on the report we approached the senior police officials for an immediate probe into the incident,” said A. Xavier, chairman of District Child Welfare Committee. Sevvapet Police Inspector A. Safifullah said police conducted a marathon 8-hour enquiry with 12 girls, all visually impaired, their parents and teachers and found prima facie evidence against the accused. “We have taken utmost care not to reveal their identities and would also ensure that the children are not victimised in the course of investigation and trial,” he said.

The accused has been working as a teacher for two decades in the school being run under the aegis of Department of Differently-abled of Tamil Nadu Government.

Besides him, four other teachers are working in the school, which has strength of 79 students. The Salem school is one among the three in the State besides Poonamallee in Chennai and Tiruchi where the visually challenged, a majority of them from downtrodden society, are imparted special education.

Cases against mason

The Seithur police in Rajapalayam have registered two cases of attempt to rape against a mason here. The accused was remanded to judicial custody on Thursday.

Medical examination on the accused, M. Ganesan (20) and the victims in the age group of seven and eight years, would be carried out after getting order from the court, the Superintendent of Police, S. Maheswaran, said.

The case against Ganesan is that he had lured a 7-year-old girl of his neighbourhood and took her to a secluded place before sexually abusing her on January 1. After the girl complained, the parents lodged a formal complaint with the police on Wednesday, which led to Ganesan’s arrest.

Meanwhile, a relative of Ganesan also complained with the police that the mason had misbehaved with his 8-year-old daughter two months ago.

The Rajapalayam Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ashokan, said that cases against Ganesan had been registered under Section 376 read with Section 511 of the Indian Penal Code.

Namakkal

Two youths were arrested on Thursday for allegedly kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old girl in the district. The police have invoked the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

“The accused were neighbours of the girl. The victim and the accused belong to the Scheduled Caste community. She was kidnapped by the duo and allegedly raped by one of them. Though the incident took place around midnight of December 31, the victim preferred a complaint with the Namagiripettai Police only on Thursday morning”, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Rasipuram S.P. Rajan told The Hindu .

The DSP said that the girl went to school only till sixth standard. “She and her mother were working in Tiruchi District for about six months. On New Year’s Eve the two came to visit the girl’s father.”

According to the girl and her mother who came to the police, somebody knocked the door close to midnight on December 31. Her father was drunk, so the girl answered the door thinking that it could be her elder sister. The two accused were at the door in a drunken state.

Before the girl could react, one of them covered her face with a blanket that he had carried with him. He managed to close her mouth to prevent her from raising an alarm. With the help of the other person she was carried to a Government school nearby. “She was allegedly raped by the 20-year-old youth while the other stood guard”, Mr. Rajan said.

Police sources said that the victim raised an alarm. On hearing it, villagers rushed to the spot, but the accused managed to flee. There was delay in lodging the police complaint as the relatives of the victim and the villagers tried to trace the whereabouts of the two, but in vain, police said.

Mr. Rajan said the accused were booked under Section 4 (Punishment for Penetrative Sexual Assault) and 17 (Punishment for Abetment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The 20-year-old youth has been sent to a Borstal school at Paramathi in the district and the other youth to a juvenile home at Hasthampatti in Salem district.

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