At least 11 minor tribal girls in a Chhattisgarh government ashram (residential school) were allegedly raped by a teacher and a watchman for months last year, but an official cover-up masked their crimes till a chance detection.
The sexual exploitation of the girls aged between 8 and 13 at the school in Kanker district, about 170 km south of Raipur, came to light on Sunday when the victims confided in a government official on an inspection.
The police have arrested the accused, teacher Mannuram Goti and watchman Deenanath Nagesh. They were produced in court on Monday and remanded in judicial custody.
“The girls first complained in August 2012 and the matter came up in the local village panchayat, but was hushed up because the watchman’s wife was a panch,” a police official privy to the investigation said.
“The sarpanch, however, informed the block education officer about the allegations three months later after developing cold feet.”
What’s more, the victims had complained to their hostel superintendent, Babita Markam, who allegedly remained silent.
State tribal welfare department commissioner MS Paraste said, “It is shocking these officials remained mum.”
Earlier in the day, district collector Alarmelmangai D sacked Goti and Markam. The block education officer, SS Navargi, was suspended.
A woman IPS officer, Nitu Kamal, from the state police headquarters has started investigations in the case and is likely to submit her report this week.