The Gamdevi police investigating the alleged sexual assault of a three-year-old girl studying at a reputable south Mumbai school by a bus attendant, suspect that the girl may been assaulted earlier as well.
“The girl had complained of pain in her private parts in June as well, but the family had not taken the matter seriously enough and had not taken her to the doctor,” said a police sub-inspector investigating the case.
Inspector Sandeep Bhagdikar of the Gamdevi police station said they would investigate if the girl had been sexually assaulted earlier as well. While they had sent the clothes of the accused and of the girl for forensic tests, the police had not yet seized the bus in which the alleged incident took place.
The bus attendant, 47-year-old Prakash Joshi from Tardeo, had been arrested on Wednesday. The police are recording the statements of bus drivers, cleaners and other bus attendants.
According to the police, the incident took place on Tuesday. The parents had stated in their complaint that the incident came to light after the child returning home from school on September 9. The girl’s mother noticed swelling in her genitals when she tried to bathe her.
“When the child said she had trouble urinating and refused to go to school again, the mother sensed something amiss. The girl’s parents rushed her to a private doctor who observed signs of minor bleeding and confirmed sexual assault. That’s when they approached the police,” said an inspector from the Gamdevi police station.
“The girl said ‘an uncle in blue clothes’ had picked her up from school and taken her to the bus. He had touched her private parts,” Bhagdikar added. He also said that according to the girl, three people were present in the bus at the time of the incident.
“As the driver, the male attendant and the woman attendant are given different coloured uniforms, we arrested Joshi who was wearing blue,” Bhagdikar added.
A medical examination of the girl and the accused was conducted at the Nagpada police hospital and the medical report of the girl is awaited.
The police arrested Joshi under sections 376 of Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act on Wednesday morning. A court has remanded him in police custody up to September 18.
“We do not know anything about the incident as the parents did not complain to us before going to the police,” said the principal of the school. “I was called to the police station today [Thursday] to record my statement. We will decide on our course of action once the police investigation is complete,” he added.