Female students stripped-searched before HSC exam
Two female security employees of Vishwashanti Gurukul, Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) of Maharashtra Academy of Engineering and Educational Research (MAEER), Loni Kalbhor, booked by Loni Kalbhor police.pune Updated: Mar 04, 2018 16:28 IST
Two female security employees of Vishwashanti Gurukul, Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) of Maharashtra Academy of Engineering and Educational Research (MAEER), Loni Kalbhor, were booked by Loni Kalbhor police on Saturday evening for stripping girls appearing for Class 12 examination and checking their private body parts for chits used for cheating in examinations.
Virendra Bawaskar, principal of Vishwashanti Gurukul, however, has denied the charges saying the students and their parents were reacting as the college authorities did not allow cheating to take place.
The girls approached their parents and then the local police. In their complaint they said, the checking happened first on February 21 and was repeated on February 26 and February 28 at the gates and campus of Vishwashanti Gurukul, MIT.
While four girls accompanied the complainant on Saturday, the complainant teen said that there were more from her college at the examination center who were taken to the room.
“They made us take off our pants, aprons and kurtas and checked our private parts for chits. The girls who said they were on periods were taken to the washroom to check if they were really menstruating. I protested so they didn’t touch me,” said one of the complainant who is a local karate player.
A case under Sections 354 (sexual harassment) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 8 (sexual assault) and 10 (punishment for sexual assault) of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) was registered against the two female security guards. However, the number might increase as per the investigation, said assistant police inspector (API) MK Dhawaal of Loni Kalbhor police station. Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Member of Parliament (MP) from Shirur, met the Loni Kalbhor police on Saturday and urged Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe to raise the issue in the ongoing legislative assembly session.
“We are investigating all the claims made in the complaint. We will ask all the girls if they were checked (inappropriately) in order to ascertain the total number of victims,” said API Dhawaal.
In the light of the leak of English question paper in Solapur, Sudhakar Pakhare, an officer from the Education Department said, “Checking is necessary but not in this manner. I will submit a report to the education officer while the police carry out their investigation.”
“I heard the boys teasing the girls and asked my daughter what had happened. That’s when she told me that such and such things had happened during the paper on February 28. When I asked the principal, he was rude told me to do whatever I possibly could against the college but the checking process will continue,” said Chandrakant Salunkhe, father of one of the girls.
“There is a married girl who was among the girls who were checked. Her husband and family are now forcing her to stop her education. Why do our girls have to face such humiliation?” asked Vandana Kalbhor, Sarpanch of Lonikalbhor village. “The girls are already under exam pressure and this incident added to it,” Kalbhor added.
I’m scared for my family’s safety: MIT Principal
Virendra Bawaskar, Principal of the Vishwashanti Gurukul by Maharashra Institute of Technology (MIT) has denied all the charges made by female students of Class 12 of sexual assault by female security guards while checking for chits.
Bawaskar said that the parents and the students were doing this to take revenge for not allowing cheating at the examination centre. He claimed that the police case had put the lives of his family members, and the family members of the two female security guards named in the case, at risk.
“I have 259 students appearing for board exams at my college which is an exam centre for the first time this year. We catch loads of chits everyday but we did not take formal action in order to save the students from severe action without letting them copy. The parents had asked me to not check the students for chits at all but I refused. They are getting back at me for that,” Bawaskar said.
The squad had also caught one of the four complainant girls in possession of chits, Bawaskar said. He added that it was not possible to check those many students in the limited time they have between letting the students in and seating them.
“A female police constable was also present at all time. She has seen how we checked the girls before the exam,” Bawaskar added.