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HT Exclusive: Intruder molests Class 1 student in SoBo school

Dongri molestation puts spotlight on the need for measures to tackle crimes against schoolchildren

mumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2017 09:55 IST
Sagar Rajput
Besides the school teachers and parents, no one should be allowed to enter the school premises, said a senior psychiatrist at a city hospital.
Besides the school teachers and parents, no one should be allowed to enter the school premises, said a senior psychiatrist at a city hospital.(Shrikrishna Patkar)

Fear gripped a South Mumbai school after an unknown person allegedly entered the school premises in Dongri and molested a Class 1 student.

The police said the unidentified accused entered the premises on April 5 at around 2pm and picked up the six-year-old girl and took her to a toilet with his hand over her mouth.

An officer from Dongri police station said, “The girl did not get a chance to raise an alarm because the accused instantly put his hand over her mouth after overpowering her. However, her three classmates, who were in the toilet at the same time, came to her rescue and screamed for help, after which the accused left the girl and ran away.” Initially, the girls did not complain to anyone, but when they saw the same person in the school premises the next day, they informed their parents, the police said. The parents approached the Dongri police station on Friday after meeting with the faculty and principal.

An officer further added, “The girls have said a person aged between 25 and 30 years would come to their school with a haversack on his back. Two girls say they remember the face of the accused, so we are investigating accordingly.”

The police are also looking into how the school’s security guard let an unknown person enter the premises.

They are also looking through the CCTV footage from inside the school premises.

Senior police inspector Nitin Bangale from Dongri police station said, “We have registered a case.”

The case has been registered under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code along with sections 8 and 12 under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.

‘Need to increase CCTV cameras in schools, checks by beat marshals’

After the Dongri police registered a case against an unidentified man who molested a Class 1 student on April 5, police said they plan to meet school authorities and security guards to prevent such offences from recurring.

“We will hold a meeting on Monday to ascertain whether there is a need to increase the number of CCTV cameras inside the school. We will also discuss what precautions we need to take to avoid such incidents,” said Nitin Bangale, senior inspector, Dongri police station.

However, experts said that unless CCTV cameras in the school are constantly monitored, they will be rendered useless.

Police also plan to increase the number of visits by beat marshals to various schools in the area.

“Beat marshals visit schools regularly, but now we will increase the frequency of their visits,” said an officer who did not wish to be identified.

“We will mandate police visits to schools at the start and end of each day,” he added.

“Guards at schools should be issued clear security guidelines. Besides the school teachers and parents, no one should be allowed to enter the school premises. Male or peon females should be stationed inside school toilets at all times to ensure that the children are safe,” said Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist at a city-based hospital.

“We should treat children with the utmost care. In this case, the victim should have reported the incident to her parents on the day it occurred. However, keeping in mind that parents sometimes blame their children for such incidents, she did not speak up,” said a police officer, who did not wish to be identified.

He said lessons on good and bad touch must be included in the curriculum.“Students should be encouraged to file complaints whenever they are targeted,” he added.

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