The search for the alleged rapist of a six-year-old in an elite school of Bengaluru has finally led the police to a skating instructor who stashed videos of schoolchildren being raped and is suspected to be a paedophile. But the school management’s response to its responsibility for preventing such an incident through diligence and security measures and prompt action against the culprit has been far from responsive. It has now come to light that the arrested skating instructor had been sacked by another school because of complaints against him. The elite school where the rape occurred did not carry out the necessary checks at the time of the his appointment.
This is a wake-up call not only to schools in Bengaluru but other Indian cities to make big changes in their security system and ensure children are not abused. The role of the school in seeking to cover up and evade responsibility points to the need to make school authorities accountable for such shocking apathy to the safety of students. The outrage among people in Bengaluru makes it amply clear that there is a spontaneous upsurge against such depravity. Many suggestions have come forth from parents of school-going children and other citizens. These include self-defence classes for children, installation of CCTVs in schools, more and better policing outside premises, thorough checks on antecedents of school employees, more student-teacher-parent meetings. It has been suggested that the police should book sexual abusers under strong sections of the IPC and not dilute the FIRs. Only deterrent punishment will deter the offenders.
Law and order is deteriorating and there is a dire need to ensure accountability is sharpened regardless of the status and political connections of an offender. Sustained reforms and not mere knee-jerk reactions are the need of the hour to stem the tide of growing criminality.