MUMBAI: The scandal in Maharashtra’s ashram school system stank worse today with new facts coming to light relating to the rape and sexual exploitation of more than a dozen tribal girl students at the
Kokare Ashram School in Hivarkheda town in Buldana district.
Since the scandal broke, the girls have been revealing shocking details: the prime accused in the case, Itusingh Pawar lured his victims with food, and used to rape his victims in front of the other
girls where they all slept together. Further, the headmaster of the school was told about it, and he just hushed the girls.
The police announced today they have arrested four more persons, taking the number of arrests to 15 with two more suspects still at large.
Dr. Asha Mirge, a former member of the Maharashtra Women’s Commission told New Indian Express, “One of the victims told the authorities during her medical examination that she told the headmaster
about the sexual advances of Itusing Pawar. But the headmaster told her to ignore it and not to speak to anyone about it.”
According to Dr. Mirge, Itusing Pawar has revealed the names of five girls, three of whom he raped in the presence of the other girls. The other two had a vague idea that such activities were going on
in the school.
Dr Mirge also accused the Buldana district administration of ignoring rules and regulations governing medical examination of rape victims. A male doctor conducted the examination of the victims
at the government hospital at Akola, she said.
The rapes took place at one of the 1,000 residential schools called ashram shalas in Maharashtra. They are run directly by the state government or with the aid of government funds by trusts.
Around 4.45 lakh students are enrolled in these schools, out of which 1.99 lakh are girls.