An ongoing study on paedophiles at Tihar jail finds that nearly 80 per cent spent a lot of time outside schools, including some prominent ones. They targeted boys around age 10, and girls between the ages of eight and 14, in 'public school dress'.
Psychologist Rajat Mitra of NGO Swanchetan studied 730 sexual offenders between 2001 and 2004 to understand their psyche. About 100 confessed to paedophilia.
"Twenty-four inmates had assaulted children under 12, and provided details of the behaviour and the modus operandi of other paedophiles," says Mitra. The study was resumed recently and will be complete by the end of 2007.
One undertrial said he went to a government school and asked the clerk for names of girls who failed their exams. He cornered one class IX student just outside school, promised to help her with her marks, and soon after, assaulted her. He later revealed he had done this before.
Mitra's team found that, on an average, a paedophile lurks outside five to six schools, at a distance to avoid suspicion.
Also, they found that nearly 60 per cent of paedophiles choose professions with easy access to children. A maths tutor was jailed after having molested an 11-year-old boy he had been teaching for six months. He won the child's trust by gifting him an 'autographed' cricket bat, and molested him a week later.
To protect one's child, Kiran Bedi of the Bureau of Police Research and Development says: "Parents need to be alert to queer behaviour. The police cannot be intrusive." Adds child psychiatrist Amit Sen: "Children should be taught early to say 'no' to adults who touch them in a 'bad' way."