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4-year-old sexually abused in school, 2 teachers held after she identifies them

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4-year-old sexually abused in school, 2 teachers held after she identifies them

A four-year-old student of a prominent south Kolkata English-medium school was allegedly sexually abused by two of her teachers inside a school toilet on Thursday. Cops arrested both of them after the girl gave a video statement and identified them from a set of four photographs shown by investigators on Friday.
The arrests came at the end of a 24-hour cycle of trauma for the girl and her parents. The Netaji Nagar police station, according to the girl’s dad, took the family to the Jadavpur police station to get the complaint lodged, apparently because the place where the crime was committed — the school campus — fell in the latter’s jurisdiction. The second police station, again according to the dad, asked the parents to get a medical examination done before registering a complaint. The girl’s medical tests were finally completed at SSKM Hospital on Friday and she returned home around 4 pm.
Cops arrested Avishek Roy (32) and Md Mofizul (30) around the same time on Friday, just over 24 hours after the incident, and charged them under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, which carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee termed the incident heinous and shameful and promised that the guilty would be punished.
The incident sent shockwaves through the city and sparked waves of protests at the school throughout Friday as angry parents of other students laid siege to the campus, with many of them comparing Thursday’s assault to a child’s murder at a Gurgaon school a couple of months ago. “Is it too much to expect the school to just guarantee my child’s protection on the campus?” a parent asked.
The parents kept the teachers confined to the school and demanded the principal’s resignation and arrest. Around midnight, RAF was deployed around the school.
The parents of the lower-infant student told cops that two PT teachers lured their daughter with chocolate to an unattended toilet on Thursday afternoon and sexually abused her. The girl went back home but was probably too shocked to tell her mother.
The mom realised that there was something amiss when her daughter complained of pain in her genital area and started passing blood with urine. She took her daughter to a paediatrician, suspecting it to be a case of urinary tract infection, but the doctor told her that the child had been assaulted.
“When prodded, she said two teachers touched her private parts,” the girl’s father, the regional head of an MNC, said. Then began the family’s round of police stations and hospital.
Cops, however, denied the parents were made to run around. “They reached the Netaji Nagar police station at 9.25pm on Thursday but the OC there arranged for a police vehicle to take the girl and her dad to the Jadavpur PS. The parents have praised the active role of the Netaji Nagar OC,” an officer said. Cops at Jadavpur PS said they wanted to hurry up the process of medical examination to ensure no evidence was lost and, therefore, took the girl’s family to the hospital first. “All the while, we were there with the girl’s family and speeded up the complaint registration process and ensured minimum hassle for the family,” an officer said.
Another allegation of abuse had surfaced at the same school three years ago, parents said, prompting the authorities to announce a host of measures. But nothing was done, the parents alleged. Parents kept teachers confined to the campus till late on Friday and demanded the principal’s resignation and arrest.
Parents raised several questions about the absence of basic security measures at the school, including lack of CCTV cameras, unattended toilets and recruitment of male PT teachers in a girls’ school. Roy joined the school six years ago; Mofizul joined two years later. The parents alleged that there was complaint against one of the them by senior students.
The principal denied the allegations, pointing out that no PT classes were scheduled on Thursday and that the girl’s mother had not complained of anything amiss when she came to pick her daughter up from school. “The mother, in fact, met us and we spoke about a school picnic,” the principal said. “I tried to call up the girl’s parents after getting a call from cops but their phones were switched off,” the principal added.

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