BANGALORE: Four days after the sexual assault of a three-and-a-half-year girl studying in nursery, an office assistant of the school here was arrested on Saturday for the crime that evoked public outrage and raised questions about safety in schools.
Gundappa, aged 42, working in the Orchids International School, where the incident took place on October 22, was arrested based on evidence, including statement of the victim before the judicial magistrate, city Police Commissioner M N Reddi told reporters here.
"We had registered a case under Sec 376 IPC (relating to rape) and Sections 4 and 6 of POCSO Act. The investigation was on. Today we have made an arrest in this case," he said.
Sections 4 and 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 relate to punishment for penetrative sexual assault and punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault, respectively.
"....identification of the pictures of the accused was conducted by an approved specialist agency, and also the statement was recorded from the victim before the judicial magistrate under Sec 164 crpc today. Based on these two evidences and also evidences collected so far we have arrested one individual today in the case."
'Case extremely sensitive'
Describing the case as "extremely sensitive" as it involved a child of a very tender age, Reddi said it was not easy to collect information from her given the age and the "trauma she underwent."
The breakthrough comes a day after a functionary of the trust running the school was arrested on charges of violation of norms in managing the institution.
Police had registered a criminal case invoking POSCO Act and IPC on a complaint from the child's father.
The girl was crying when her mother picked her up from school on Oct 22 and she was not behaving normally and had symptoms of fever. While she initially told her mother that someone beat her up, she later said she was sexually assaulted, according to the parents.
General Secretary of the trust K R K Reddy was arrested in connection with the cases under various IPC sections,including 420 (cheating) besides RTE Act filed on Thursday night against the school after it was found allegedly functioning illegally, flouting the rules and law and cheating public.
Reddi also said he visited the school on Saturday and a meeting with the parents was held. "I have said that the school can reopen from the security and safety point of view from Monday onwards."
"Special team will continue the investigation and collect further evidence in the case."
Are Girls Safe in Schools?
Three cases of sexual assault have occurred in Bangalore in the last four months, raising questions about safety of girls in schools and triggering protests from parents.
An eight-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her 63-year-old teacher inside her school premises over a period of time. The offence came to light in early August, barely a month after the rape of a six-year-old girl at'Vibgyor High' school here which led to street protests.
The incidents had prompted Bangalore police to issue strict safety guidelines amid reports that many schools were not observing them.