Even as the gang-rape and death of a young woman in the national capital has ignited outrage at sexual violence against women and girls in the country, in a shocking incident that occurred in the port town of Vasco on Monday
, a seven-year-old girl student of a popular high school located at Headland-Sada was allegedly raped by a stranger when the minor went to pay visit to the toilet during the interval session.
Taking strong cognisance of the negligence on part of the school management, the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar directed the Crime Branch team of Goa police, who are investigating into the case, to book an offence against the headmistress of the school for negligence. The Crime Branch has also registered an offence against an unknown person under Section 378 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 8 of Goa Children Act for raping a minor girl.
The victim has been sent to the Goa Medical College and Hospital at Bambolim for medical examination and the report would throw more light on the case.
Taking strong note of the incident, the Chief Minister directed the Director General of Police to hand over the case to the Crime Branch for further investigation.
Hundreds of people including parents agitated in the school premises since afternoon when the news of the rape incident spread like wildfire in the port town. The agitated people demanded immediate arrest of the school headmistress, and the culprit who committed the rape.
The Chief Minister, Mr Parrikar along with Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, Mr Rajendra Arlekar, the Power Minister, Mr Milind Naik, Law Commission chairman, Mr Narendra Savaikar, Vasco MLA, Mr Carlos Almeida and BJP state unit president, Mr Vinay Tendulkar rushed to the school and had talks with Crime Branch team, school management, parents and the crowd gathered at the school premises.
According to the information available, the victim who is a class II student of the high school was allegedly raped by a stranger who entered the school premises during the interval session at around 10.30 am. The incident was reported in the girls’ toilet and it came to light after the victim complained to her class teacher about pain. The headmistress, taking immediate note of the incident, intimated the victim’s parents. As the parents could not be present in the school in time, the incident was later brought to the notice of the Mormugao police at around 2.30 pm. The delay in intimating the police created panic among the agitated people, who had started gathering in the school premises in the afternoon.
Despite the incident occurring at around 10.30 am, the victim was made to sit in the office room of the school for about eight hours and only then was she sent to the GMC for medical examination, at around 6.15 pm. This further angered the crowd and parents who had gathered in the school.
The District Collector, South, Mr N D Agarwal, Superintendent of Police, South, Mr Shekhar Prabhudessai, Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Mr Nilu Raut Dessai, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Mr Sammy Tavares, Crime Branch, PI, Ms Sunita Sawant and other top police officials visited the school premises and immediately started the investigation process. The director of education department and other officials also visited the school.
The Chief Minister, Mr Parrikar along with other officials of the police tried to calm down the agitated crowd. Hectic efforts were also made by the police to calm the crowd and stop it from entering on the first floor of the school building where the headmistress was questioned by Crime Branch officials. Finally, with the intervention of the Chief Minister, the headmistress was arrested by the police and taken to police station with a strong police posse. As the police had a hard time in controlling the agitated crowd, additional force was summoned from other police stations.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that the state government would sensitise the schools in view of the security of students, mainly the girl students, in order to avoid incidents like rapes and molestations.
The incident of alleged rape on a 7-year-old student of a popular high school has served as an ‘eye opener’ for the state government in providing security to the girl students. The Chief Minister, Mr Parrikar said that the school management appeared casual when it was their duty to restrict strangers from entering the school campus.
The Chief Minister has asked parents to take proper care of the security of their wards. He also said that every school teacher has his or her duty to keep an eye on children and can play a key role in avoiding any kind of incidents like rape and molestation within school premises. He said that this incident is a lesson to the other schools and that it was now the duty of every parent and the school management to be alert and avoid such type of incidents.
Mr Parrikar said that the Crime Branch has been directed to book a case against the headmistress of the school for her negligence. "Negligence of headmistress and the rape case will be two different cases which would be investigated separately by the Crime Branch," said the Chief Minister. The Director of education in the late evening directed the school management to keep the school closed for two days in view of the alleged rape incident. [NT]