In a brazen violation of the child protection act, the Institution for the Blind in Amar Colony, Delhi, has seemingly hushed up the alleged sexual assault of two of its Class 3 students by a teacher last year. This is despite a signed confession by the alleged perpetrator and reports of two school committees that indict him. The police too are yet to file an FIR in connection with the case despite being called to the institution’s premises in connection with the assault soon after the incident, and despite a complaint filed by school authorities nine months later.
The teacher allegedly sodomised two visually impaired boys at the school’s premises last year on November 14 — celebrated as Children’s Day in India. The boys are residents of the government-funded institution’s hostel.
Two days after the incident, the victims, along with their school mates, wrote to the vice principal, who heads the institution, informing him about the assault. A number of other children also alleged that the teacher, who is also visually impaired, would molest them regularly.
Though the vice principal called the police at the time, instead of filing a complaint, he served the teacher with a show cause notice. The police too did not investigate the matter further.
This is in clear violation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
“As per the POCSO Act, any cases of sexual assault have to be reported to the police and an FIR filed as soon as the complaint is received,” said Arun Mathur, chairperson, Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.
In his reply to the show cause notice, the accused accepted the allegations and said he would not ‘make the same mistake again’. Despite the confession, the institution did not file a police complaint.
That was not all. In July, the institution also moved to expel one of the victims from the hostel when the vice principal wrote to the warden, asking him to expel the child as he was a bad student and of ‘bad character’.
School authorities only took the matter forward when the father of one of the boys repeatedly wrote to them, urging them to act against the alleged perpetrator. The father wrote a series of letters to the school in July.
In August, the institution’s office secretary finally sent a written complaint to the SHO of the Amar Colony Police Station. HT has a copy of the complaint. The school also finally set up two enquiries both of which established the guilt of the teacher.
“Both committees categorically stated that the teacher should be punished and removed from duty. The committee also criticised the vice principal for reaching a ‘compromise’ with the police and hushing up the matter. Still there is no action against either the vice principal or the teacher,” said a member of the internal enquiry committee.
HT has copies of the committee reports, the written communication between the victims’ parents and school, the show cause notice issued to the teacher and his reply.
School authorities now claim they have filed a case against the teacher. “We have lodged an FIR with the police and are cooperating with them,” said Sunil Khurana, president of the institution.
The police, however, deny this and add a curious twist.
A senior police officer told HT that no FIR has been filed as the alleged victims denied they were sexually assaulted. “We recorded the statements of the two blind students on three different dates in the past year. The victims have maintained that they were not sexually abused,” said the officer.