Senior scientist held for attempting to rape junior’s six-year-old daughter in Agra
A senior scientist at the National Jalma Institute for Leprosy & Other Mycobacterial Diseases in Uttar Pradesh’ Agra was arrested on Tuesday for attempting to rape the six-year-old daughter of a junior scientist on Monday, police have said.
Police said 58-year-old Vishnu Dutt Sharma, the head of the department of microbiology, has been arrested.
“The matter was reported to the Tajganj police on Tuesday morning and facts narrated in the complaint were verified and found to be true. A case was registered against Sharma under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act,” said superintendent of police (city) Kunwar Anupam Singh.
Sources said the police also spoke to other young girls, who live on the institute premises, about Sharma’s conduct.
The girl’s parents said in their complaint that Sharma had been making advances towards their daughter for over the past two months. On Monday, he allegedly took the girl to the roof of the institute’s residential wing.
The girl’s mother said she called out to her daughter and when she did not get any reply she suspected something to be amiss. She went to the rooftop and saw Sharma attempting to rape the child. Sharma reportedly fled the spot and the girl’s mother immediately disclosed the matter to the family.
The girl’s family said they used to consider Sharma an “elderly member of the scientist fraternity” and that he was like a “grandfatherly figure” for their daughter.
Sharma is scheduled to retire in September.
Authorities at the premier institute expressed shock over their senior colleague’s arrest.
Child sexual abuse has been in focus after the gang-rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district hit the headlines and sparked nationwide outrage and criticism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Two girls were raped and murdered during wedding ceremonies in Uttar Pradesh last month, adding to a number of brutal sexual assaults reported across India this week.
According to government figures, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes in India. The National Crime Records Bureau report for 2016 shows a sharp spike in cases of rape against children with an increase of such incidents by over 82% as compared to 2015.
Uttar Pradesh tops the list in crime against minors, with around 15% share of total crime against children in the country, it says.