Medical examination of two of the six disabled girls who were allegedly sexually abused by their teachers for almost a year at a rehabilitation centre here has confirmed rape.
Examination of the other four girls, who are all minors, found that they had not been raped recently, but the police have not ruled out the possibility of it in the past. The two girls whose rape has been confirmed are aged 18 and 21.
The government, which partially funded the Prerna Rehabilitation Centre through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), on Thursday stopped the grant with immediate effect after project director Rajesh Sharma visited the centre.
On Wednesday, the police swooped on the Prerna Rehabilitation Centre, in Totu, a Shimla suburb, and arrested principal Vijay, who only uses one name, and teachers Dinesh Kumar and Amarjeet Singh. Vinod Kumar was arrested from Sarkaghat, 200 km from here. They have all been sent in police custody till March 23.
“We have asked the doctors to conduct some more tests… to ascertain if the minors were raped,” district police chief R.M. Sharma said. The girls and the accused were examined at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla.
An interpreter from an institute for special children in Mashbora, 15 km from here, was called to record the statements of the girls — five of them are hearing and speech impaired. The police said the evidence (beddings) collected by the forensics from the centre had some stains, but DNA testing could only be done at the Central Forensic Science Lab in Chandigarh or Hyderabad.
The four accused denied the charges and alleged conspiracy. Vijay and Singh said the owner of the building that housed the centre wanted them out and had framed them. They even pointed the finger at the centre’s speech therapist.
Prerna Welfare Association, an NGO, runs the centre for the speech and hearing impaired and mentally challenged children.