Rape of Class 2 student: Protest held at Beas seeking action against school authorities
Hundreds of people, mostly parents of students, held a demonstration against the authorities of a private school at Beas, 40km from Amritsar, on Monday against the rape of a Class 2 girl by a student of Class 10 on Friday.
Demanding a criminal case against the school authorities, including principal and the management, the protesters held a blockade outside the school on National Highway-1 that connects Amritsar with Delhi, leading to a traffic jam. Police diverted the traffic through link roads in the area. However, the commuters suffered throughout the day due to blockade which was lifted in the evening after getting assurance from the cops.
Beas town also observed bandh to express solidarity with the protesters.
“The 8-year-old girl complained of pain in the stomach and private parts. She told her mother what the accused boy did to her, who is also a minor. The mother lodged a complaint at the Beas police station and a case was registered under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC and Section 8 of the POCSO Act,” a police official said.
The accused was arrested the same day and produced in a court before being sent to a juvenile home. The victim’s family, however, have left their house for an undisclosed location, said residents.
The rape took place at 8am when the victim girl was alone in the classroom. Even as CCTV cameras are installed in the classroom and on all key points across the campus, neither police nor the school produced the CCTV footages citing that the accused switched off the camera of the classroom before committing the crime. The school authorities did not meet protesters’ demand to show footages of other cameras.
The police arranged meeting of the protesters with school director, but it remained inconclusive even as parents grilled him in the presence of the media.
The blockade of national highway was lifted at around 5pm after Amritsar-rural SSP Vikramjit Duggal assured the protesters to take action against school authorities if they were found negligent in any respect.
“A special investigation team (SIT) has been constituted under the supervision of superintendent of police (investigation) Amandeep Kaur. Two weeks have been given to the SIT to finish the probe. The requisite action will be taken as the facts come to the fore,” said Duggal, during the visit he paid to the school to pacify the protesters.
Deputy commissioner (DC) Shivdular Singh Dhillon has constituted a three-member committee led by sub-divisional magistrate of Baba Bakala to probe the role of the school. “The probe panel will give its report in 15 days and bring out if any kind of negligence on part of the school authorities. The panel is also directed to put up the suggestions about what kind of measures could be taken in the schools so that such incidents don’t occur,” said Dhillon in his order.
ACCUSED’S SISTER HAD ENDED LIFE AT SCHOOL IN 2012
The 12-year-old sister of the accused was a student of Class 5 when she committed suicide by jumping off the fourth floor of the school building on November 9, 2012. Though police initiated action under Section 174 of the CrPc, her father blamed the school authorities.
According to a teacher, the girl had suddenly left the classroom during the fifth period, headed for the top floor and before other children could stop her, jumped off the building. She was rushed to hospital where she was declared brought dead.
Police said that a suicide note was recovered from her bag and it said that her mother used to taunt her and tell her “mar ja (die)” and thus, she was committing suicide. Her father, however, refuted this and even denied the girl had written the note.
According to Preet Paul Singh Virk, the then senior superintendent of police, Amritsar Rural, action will be taken in the case once investigation is completed.
Harpreet Kaur, the investigation officer in Friday’s rape case, confirmed that girl who committed suicide in 2012 was the sister of the accused. “We were busy in getting the medical examination of the victim conducted today. We are yet to focus on the investigation of the case. We have not noticed any connection between Friday’s incident and the 2012 case,” she said.