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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Dehradun school gang rape: Minor victim to record statement, probe ordered

Six adults were sent to judicial remand and three minors to a juvenile correctional home on Tuesday in connection with the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl student of a boarding school in the Uttarakhand capital.

dehradun Updated: Sep 18, 2018 22:39 IST
Kalyan Das
Kalyan Das
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Police officials expressed shock at the lengths to which the school administration went to hide the incident.
Police officials expressed shock at the lengths to which the school administration went to hide the incident.(AFP/Picture for representation)
         

Six adults were sent to judicial remand and three minors to a juvenile correctional home on Tuesday in connection with the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl student of a boarding school in the Uttarakhand capital, with the most shocking aspect of the case being, according to initial police investigations, the lengths to which the school administration went to hide the incident.

The special court of additional district judge, Gurubaksh Singh, remanded the adults to district jail, Dehradun, and the juvenile justice board sent the minors to a correctional home in Haridwar.

Statements of all the nine accused were recorded before the two courts; the statement of the victim could not be recorded, investigating officer, Naresh Rathod, said. “Her statements will be recorded on Wednesday. Also, earlier it was thought that the all the four accused school boys were minor but later one of them was found to be an adult while inspecting his documents,” he added.

The 16-year-old girl studying in a city-based boarding school was allegedly gang raped by four of her classmates, including the three minors on August 14. The boys were held on Monday evening. The other five are school officials, including its director and the principal.

The school officials were arrested for allegedly destroying evidence. On Sunday evening, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Dehradun, Nivedita Kukreti, ordered an investigation in the matter after she came to about the incident.

On Monday, Sahaspur police registered a case against the accused for alleged gang rape and destruction of evidence. Police imposed section 376(d) for gang rape, 120(b) for criminal conspiracy and section 210 for disappearance of evidence. They have also imposed relevant section of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.

The police said the incident happened on August 14 on the school premises. Two of the accused boys who used to study in the girl’s class told her that one of the school teachers was calling her.She went with them; they were joined by two other accused boys who used to study in her senior class. The four then gangraped her and threatened her with dire consequences if she informed anyone of the incident.

A police official said on condition of anonymity: “The victim then returned to the hostel and informed the arrested accused hostel caretaker, a woman, about the incident. Rather than taking any action against the four boys, the caretaker told the girl to remain silent on the issue and then informed the accused administrative officer (AO).”

“Meanwhile, the accused director and principal were also informed about the incident but didn’t inform victim’s parents; instead, they threatened to rusticate her from the school, if she were to inform them,” said the official. Kukreti said, “The investigation was ordered by me after I received a tip-off about the incident on Sunday. Prima-facie it has been proved that the girl was gangraped. Her parents reached Dehradun on Monday morning. Further investigations are on in the case.”

After coming to know of the incident, officials of the Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (USCPCR) also visited the school premises on Monday evening and counselled the victim and her parents.

“We were shocked to find that the girls hostel has not had a warden for the past month. They were left with only a caretaker who has been arrested . Also, there was no CCTV cameras which could have brought the incident to the notice of the school administration earlier,” said Usha Negi, chairperson of the USCPCR.

She added, “It is also a clear-cut negligence on part of other departments concerned, which should have regularly inspected the hostel and school to check if everything is fine. Strict action should be taken against all responsible for this incident.”