BENGALURU: A day after a physical education teacher was thrashed by a mob and taken into police custody, a chorus of voices said he had been wrongly charged under a harsh law.
His colleagues, school and a private school managements’ association said there was no reason for the police to book him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012.
On Wednesday, violence broke out in New Guddadahalli, just off Mysore Road, after a mob gathered and sought to punish the teacher for the alleged sexual abuse of a seven-year-old girl.
It was a case of corporal punishment, and not sexual abuse as alleged by the girl’s parents, many said a day after the vandalism and rioting.
Police, meanwhile, said they were flummoxed by the child’s changing statements. “He had asked the girl to take off her skirt as punishment for not doing home work, and hit her,” said a teacher.
Admitting corporal punishment was an offence, the teacher said, “Why did the police book him for a sexual offence without any medical evidence?”
She said what he had done was wrong, but misusing the Act was not right either. Another teacher said, “This happened inside the classroom in front of all other students. When the girl narrated it to her parents, they took it in another way.”
Speaking to Express, D Shashikumar, secretary of the Karnataka Associated Managements of English Medium Schools, said, “Over the last few months, the POCSO Act is being misused. We guess this is one more such incident. We have requested the Education Department to book cases against those who have misused the Act.”
Teacher in Hospital
The 49-year-old teacher, assaulted by an angry mob, was taken to Victoria Hospital on Thursday morning.
Dr T Durganna, Medical Superintendent, told Express, “He seemed stressed out. We did not observe any severe health problems, but he has sustained injuries all over his body.”
The school will have to buy furniture and computers all over again. “The mob smashed our property. They do not understand the difficulty of setting up a school,” a trustee said.