Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Blind kids raped last Children’s Day, no FIR lodged so far

- Mallica Joshi ■ mallica.joshi@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: In a brazen violation of the child protection act, the Institutio­n for the Blind in Amar Colony, Delhi, has seemingly hushed up the alleged sexual assault of two of its Class 3 students by a teacher last year. This is despite a signed confession by the alleged perpetrato­r and reports of two school committees that indict him. The police too are yet to file an FIR in connection with the case despite being called to the institutio­n’s premises in connection with the assault soon after the incident, and despite a complaint filed by school authoritie­s nine months later. The teacher allegedly sodomised two visually impaired boys at the school’s premises last year on November 14 — celebrated as Children’s Day in India. The boys are residents of the government­funded institutio­n’s hostel.

Two days after the incident, the victims, along with their school mates, wrote to the vice principal, who heads the institutio­n, informing him about the assault. A number of other children also alleged that the teacher, who is also visually impaired, would molest them regularly. Though the vice principal called the police at the time, instead of filing a complaint, he served the teacher with a show cause notice. The police too did not investigat­e the matter further.

This is in clear violation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. “As per the POCSO Act, any cases of sexual assault have to be reported to the police and an FIR filed as soon as the complaint is received,” said Arun Mathur, chairperso­n, Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. In his reply to the show cause notice, the accused accepted the allegation­s and said he would not ‘make the same mistake again’. Despite the confession, the institutio­n did not file a police complaint. That was not all. In July, the institutio­n also moved to expel one of the victims from the hostel when the vice principal wrote to the warden, asking him to expel the child a she was a bad student and of ‘bad character’. School authoritie­s only took the matter forward when the father of one of the boys repeatedly wrote to them, urging them to act against the alleged perpetrato­r. The father wrote a series of letters to the school in July.

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