BANGALORE: Staff members of a school here are being questioned in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of a three-year-old girl in its campus even as parents outraged over the incident held protests and demanded answers from the management.
CCTV footage from the school was being examined and staff members were being questioned, police said, as the shocking incident-- the third relating to sexual abuse of a minor girl in school campus in recent months -- surfaced last night. City Police Commissioner M N Reddi, who visited the school immediately after the complaint was lodged yesterday, has ordered a probe by ACP (Malleshwaram) Sarah Fatima.
The school is on a holiday today on account of Diwali. According to the complaint lodged with Jalahalli Police Station, the girl was crying when her mother picked her up from school, was not behaving normally and had symptoms of fever.
While she initially told her mother that someone beat her up, she later said that she was sexually abused, police said.
A criminal case has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 and IPC section 376 (rape) on a complaint from the child's father.
The incident triggered protests from parents who gathered at the campus seeking answers from the authorities of the "international" school.
"I'm shocked that the incident has happened in this school where the atmosphere was so good, I have come here to know from the management what has happened. I have been to this school, security is good here," the parent of a child studying in the school said.
He said, "Till now no one from the management has spoken to us. There is a parents association which we have formed through which we are trying to approach and get answers."
"If it is true that the incident has happened in the school, then we will definitely support that child and try to get justice to her," another parent said.
This is the third such incident to happen in a school campus in recent months in Bangalore. An eight year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her 63-year-old teacher inside her school premises over a period of time, with the offence coming to fore in early August, barely a month after the "gang-rape" of a six-year-old girl at Vibgyor High School here evoked public outrage.
The Vibgyor school incident saw public erupt in anger on the streets, leading to police issuing stringent guidelines to schools to ensure safety of children and the government amending the Goondas Act to bring sexual offences under its ambit.
"We have registered a criminal case late Tuesday on a complaint by the victim's father that his young daughter was sexually abused in the Orchid The International School premises," Police Inspector T.C. Venkatesh told IANS.
The case was registered under sections 4 and 6 of the Pocso Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) and section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the unidentified suspect(s).
According to the complaint, the girl's mother found her daughter crying and behaving unusual and abnormal when she went to pick her up from the school in the evening.
"The victim had signs of fever and complained to her mother that she was physically abused by someone she did not know or recognize," the complaint by her father Harpreet Singh said.
School officials were not available for comment on the incident due to Diwali holidays from Wednesday till the weekend.
City Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi appointed Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Sarah Fatima as the investigating officer to probe the case.
"We are checking the footage of the closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in the school and questioning its staff and faculty," Venkatesh said.
Reddi visited the school late Tuesday with his Deputy (north) T.R. Suresh and Fatima for spot inspection and questioning the school authorities.
The latest incident of child abuse in a city school has occurred three months after a six-year-old girl student was allegedly raped July 3 in The Vibgyor High school in the eastern suburb by its gymnastic coach and his assistant.
The accused were arrested three weeks after the incident July 29 and remanded to judicial custody pending investigation and filing of the charge-sheet by police.
The incident brings back memories of the rape of a six-year-old at Vibgyor High, Marathalli, in July. Police first arrested Mustafa, a skating instructor, and later booked gym instructors Lal Giri and Waseem Pasha, but had filed no chargesheet till last week.