A watchman of a Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) school was arrested on Thursday for molesting and sexually harassing two minor girls on Monday.
The minor girls, both aged 10, complained to the school principal the day after the incident, but she did not register a complaint against the watchman, a police officer said.
The accused, a resident of Mulund, is married and had been working as a watchman at the school for the past seven months, the police said.
One of the survivors’ mother said, “I sent my daughter to school around 11am on Monday. When she was walking with her friend to her class, the accused asked her to come to his room because he wanted to show them something on his mobile phone.”
When the girls refused to go with him, he caught both of them and forcibly took them to his room , the mother said. A few other children entered the room, but the watchman asked them to leave, the mother said.
The girls were then forced to see porn clips and were asked to undress themselves, the mother said. When they refused to do this, he allegedly began undressing them forcibly after which the girls began screaming for help.
The girls told the police the watchman tried to take photographs of them while they were being undressed.
The mother said once the girls began screaming, he let them go. They complained first to the teachers and then to the principal the next day. “The principal was out for some work so we the next day (Thursday) we lodge a complaint with the Kopri police station,” the mother said. A relative of one of the survivors said, “One of the teachers told us Chavan had misbehaved in the past and students had complained about him. Authorities had warned him.”
The police said they have seized the accused’s mobile phone and have found more than 360 porn clips. They have also gone through the CCTV cameras of the school which show the watchman forcing the girls to enter his room, the police said.
Senior police inspector from Kopri police station Sambhaji Korde said, “There are three watchmen in the school and we have talked to everyone. The incident took place on Monday and because the school principal was out of town for some work,
the case was lodged on Thursday. The accused was produced in court and was remanded until August 31.”
The watchman was booked under sub sections of 354(Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376 (punishment for rape), 342(Punishment for wrongful confinement) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and The Prevention Of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POCSO).
Civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal said the school principal and the teachers who the girls complained to have been suspended .
Manish Joshi, education officer said, “The incident took place on Monday, but the teachers and principal informed the parents only on Wednesday, which was reckless on their part.” “Instead of handing over the watchman to the police, the principal suspended him, after which he went and threatened the girls near their homes. We have suspended all the four teachers and the principal,” he said.