As you enter the small room of the house of the five-year-old girl who was allegedly molested by the bus conductor of a Sector 38-based private school, the victim innocently welcomes you with a gleaming smile. She is playful unmindful of the discussion going on in whispers at her house and keeps rushing in and out of the room in which her mother is seated.
“I suddenly get up in the middle of the night to see if my daughter is fine. I keep getting unpleasant dreams ever since the incident. The traumatic thoughts about what my daughter faced keep haunting me,” says the mother.
“I cannot even divulge the details of what the conductor was up to with my little one,” she adds. “Life will never be the same for us. Not only has the thought of the incident, but also the sudden change in behaviour of some of the people around us has left me tense. There is an awkward silence whenever a neighbour or a parent from the same school meets us,” she rues.
Narrating the turn of events, the mother said it was about a fortnight back that she noticed some change in the behaviour of her daughter. The girl, carefree and jovial most of the times, would remain irritated and aloof, not wanting to mingle with others. She would want to avoid strangers and in particular young men.
The victim’s mother after noticing this discreet changes sat down and asked her if she was facing any problem. Was anyone bothering her in the school, home or neighbourhood? To this, the minor girl replied that she was feeling awkward in the bus. “Bus wale bhaiya tang karte hain,” was her reply.
To this, the mother asked which bhaiya (brother). Is it the one who drives the bus or the one who helps them getting into the bus? The child replied that she felt awkward in the presence of the bus conductor as he used to touch her in an inappropriate manner.
“My daughter was so terrified that she kept her hand on my mouth, and said mom, please don’t tell anyone, and started crying,” she says.
The parents of the victim next day questioned the bus driver and conductor. The incident was also brought to the notice of the bus owner. He immediately told the parents that they would shift the conductor, to which the parents said he should be removed not shifted.
Next day, when the parents went to drop their daughter at the bus stop, the accused conductor was again on duty both during morning and afternoon hours. With the bus owner failing to take note, the parents approached the school principal, who, according to the parents, kept ignoring their complaint and even tried to snub them. It was only after persistent complaints that the principal finally called the conductor, who apologised and admitted to his crime, claimed the mother.
She adds that they have changed their daughter’s school now. She keeps asking her mother would her friends join the same school. “We have decided not to send her by bus even in the new school as of now. I will myself go to drop and pick my daughter from the school,” she adds.
“My daughter is the victim in the end. All these days, her studies were neglected. Even I am not able to come out from the shock. How will I keep my daughter safe and secure in the coming times while she grows up?” concludes the mother with tears in her eyes.