Tutor Held for Sexual Abuse of Tribal Girls
Ramavat Harish Naik, the 21-year-old tutor in an NGO-maintained hostel for tribal children in Enami Thanda of Peddavura mandal in Nalgonda district, who is the accused in sexual assault of 12 minor children, used to lure them during nights by promising chocolates or some other gifts whenever he slept in the hostel, during the last four months. All the children were in the age group of 8 to 13. The police on Saturday evening arrested Harish Naik, who has been absconding since Friday.
Though he was supposed to leave the hostel after tutoring the children for two hours in the morning and in the evening, Harish on some pretext or the other used to stay in the hostel during nights. Instead of using other rooms, he would slip into the girls’ rooms.
According to sources, he used to lure one of the girls, take her aside and sexually assault her. He would threaten her against revealing it to anyone. Since, he hails from the same village, the girls were afraid and only revealed the assault to hostel caretaker after Harish went on leave four days ago.
The shocking incident came to light when police went to the hostel on the directions of Nalgonda district superintendent of police T Prabhakar Rao, who got information that 11 children of the hostel had complained to the hostel caretaker. The caretaker instead of lodging a complaint was trying to hush up the issue after convincing the children’s parents.
The police, led by Miryalguda DSP Subhashchandra Bose, went to the hostel on Friday night around 10 pm. They interacted with the children who had complained. The police then took the hostel caretakers N Srinivas Rao and his wife Sarita into custody for allowing Hareesh to stay in the hostel at night. The girls were sent to Nalgonda Government Hospital for medical tests and the report is expected in a couple of days.
When the SP visited the hostel along with other police officials, another girl also complained about the sexual harassment at the hands of Harish. She too was sent to the hospital for medical tests.
Harish is an Intermediate failed and was given the job of tutor by the hostel caretakers to teach the girls for two hours each in the morning and the evening, in August 2013. He was given `2,000 as salary.
The hostel was set up by Village Reconstruction Organisation, a Guntur-based NGO in 1996. The NGO runs two other similar hostels for tribal children in the district. It provides lodging and boarding along with food to poor tirbal children, while they pursue education in schools.
N Srinivas Rao and his wife have been acting as hostel caretakers for some time now. Police had registered cases against the caretakers under Sec 21 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, for not preventing Harish from taking advantage of the minor girls under their care and also not informing the authorities when the incident came to their notice.
The SP said 12 cases have been registered against Harish under various sections of Nirbaya Act and also under IPC 6, 16 and 21. He said that they are counselling the parents of the children and have written to the district collector for the closure of the hostels run by the organisation and shifting the children to the nearest Social Welfare Residential Schools.
Several women and social organisations demanded stern action against the offenders and immediate closure of the hostels. They wanted constitution of protection committees in children’s hostels for preventing such incidents from recurring. Tribal stduents organisations organised an educational institutions bandh in the district.