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Child rights panel finds security lapses at Delhi school where Class 1 student was raped

The school principal maintained that no sexual assault had happened with the child at the school. The girl’s father refuted the principal’s claims. Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) and Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) have initiated enquiries

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2017 00:03 IST
A Mariyam Alavi
A Mariyam Alavi
Hindustan Times
Delhi school rape,DCPCR,Delhi government
A Class 1 student had reportedly been raped in the bathroom of a private south Delhi school on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) said that during their inspection of a south Delhi school, where a six-year old was allegedly raped on Wednesday, they found security lapses that should have raised red flags earlier, even as the school principal maintained that no sexual assault had happened with the child at the school.

The capital had been rocked by headlines about an alleged rape of a Class 1 student in the bathroom of a private south Delhi school on Wednesday. Police had arrested the 22-year-old suspect, who was part of the school’s housekeeping staff, for allegedly sexually assaulting the girl in the school toilet. The staffer has denied the charges and said he was “helping” the girl as a female attendant was not present at the time.

The school principal, however, maintained that no sexual assault had taken place. “The girl had gone to the washroom, and for a split second the lady attendant had moved away. So when the child called for help, a male attendant rushed to her aid. The child relayed this story to her mother, and also while speaking at the ‘good touch, bad touch’ awareness programme in the school, so she (the mother) panicked,” said the principal, adding that the school had CCTV footage to back up their claims.

The principal claimed that the mother had urged her not to report the incident. When asked why the school had approached the police, the principal said, “The mother refused to give us in writing that she was convinced her child was safe, and said she needed to wait for her husband, who had been busy, to return and submit it. What if the parents would have come tomorrow and asked us why we did not take any action? In any case, the male attendant was wrong to enter the girl’s washroom. Even if no female was present, he should have called for one and waited.”

The girl’s father, however, refuted the principal’s claims. “If nothing had happened, then why would I be running from pillar to post? There is physical proof that this happened. Moreover, my daughter has told me that the incident happened,” he said.

Following the alleged crime, multiple government agencies, including the DCPCR, Directorate of Education (DoE) have initiated enquiries to probe if the school had lapsed on any necessary safety measures. A magisterial probe is also underway, as per the directions of the Delhi government.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has also issued notices to the school asking them to submit a report on what happened by October 10.

DCPCR members, Jyoti Duhan Rathee and Ranjana Prasad, visited the school along with a consultant on Friday and have prepared reports that Rathee said they would be sharing with the DoE soon.

According to Rathee, there were a few security lapses at the school, including the lack of sufficient staff and attendants at washrooms, and the presence of male attendants in the younger students’ area.

Rathee also said that the victim’s teacher had claimed that there had been no discernible behavioural or emotional change in the student when she had returned from the washroom.

Two officials from the DoE had also visited the school, and the DCPCR would also seek reports from them. “Depending on the reports, we may have to take action. We may even reconsider the recognition offered to the school. Any assault on children will not be tolerated, ignored or forgiven,” said Rathee.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 23:07 IST