The owner of a tribal residential school and its peon were arrested by the Wardha police for allegedly raping minor girl students over the last three years.
At least five minor girls of government-aided Gulabrao Ukey Adivasi Ashramshala in Mandwa, Arvi Tahsil, Wardha district, about 150 km from Nagpur, were reportedly sexually exploited by the peon with help from the school’s owner.
Sachin Landge, the peon, allegedly raped an 11-year-old girl studying in Class 6 after threatening her on August 7. She told her parents when she went home for the weekend.
They lodged a complaint with the local police whose inquiry uncovered more such victims from this school.
Two of them are orphans and the peon and accused school owner Kishore Kinkar took advantage of the situation. Landge reportedly lured the orphans with the promise of a good life and education.
Aswati Dorje, Wardha superintendent of police, told HT that a medical test of four of the girls confirmed rape. One of them is in trauma care in Wardha Civil Hospital.
“Some of the school’s teachers said they had told the school management about the situation, but that no action was taken,” she added.
For an earlier instance of sexual abuse, Landge had been terminated from service but was reinstated because he was related to Kinkar. This time, the police have registered cases under both the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act.
Meanwhile, Landge has been suspended pending completion of the police investigation. The local tribal officer, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “We are working with the relevant agencies.” The tribal office has also recommended cancellation of the school’s recognised status.
Landge and Kinkar have been remanded in police custody till August 24.