Teacher, clerk suspended over schoolgirl rape


 A teacher and a clerk were suspended on Monday in connection with  the rape of seven-year-old  schoolgirl in Vasco,    while the school headmistress, who had been  arrested on Sunday, was  remanded to seven-day police custody after she was produced before the judicial magistrate first class.
The teacher, who is class teacher of Standard II in which the victim girl studies, and the school clerk  were placed under suspension by the investigating officer of the Mormugao Port Trust, Dr Manju on the charges of negligence, pending enquiry.
Classes for the primary and secondary sections (up to Standard VIII) resumed on Monday after seven days of the rape incident, amidst a strong protest from the parents demanding  suspension  of the class teacher of Standard II.  There were  strong rumours  in Mormugao taluka  that accused in the schoolgirl rape case has been arrested.  However, the police scotched off the rumours.
The anguished parents, who had gathered outside the school premises at Headland-Sada, relented only after the teacher and the clerk were suspended.  Thereafter the parents allowed their children to enter the classrooms of the school run by the MPT.
When contacted, the MPT chairman, Mr P Mara Pandiyan said the reason behind the suspension could be negligence, adding that he would receive the report on suspension from the investigating officer on Tuesday.
The teachers escorted all the students to the main gate after classes got over on Monday afternoon. The parents had crowded  at  the school gate to collect their pupils. Armed CISF personnel and Goa policemen were deployed at the western gate. The security personnel manning the main gate have restricted entry of parents and  strangers.
Rubbishing the rumours about the arrest of accused in the schoolgirl rape case, the deputy inspector-general of police, Dr O P Mishra said the ‘news’ about the arrest of the accused “ is a total rumour”.
“There were several phone calls attended by the police at the headquarters in Panaji, asking whether the prime accused has been arrested or not,” stated Dr Mishra.
The crime branch officials, who are investigating the case, have also denied  that arrest has been made in the case.
The Goa police have interrogated several people in this case, but till date no positive outcome has been achieved.
The MPT authorities have made security arrangements in the school and its vicinity so as to keep strangers  off the school premises. It is learnt that around 30 CCTV cameras have been installed in and around school premises and height of the school compound has been raised.
An entrance gate towards the northern side of the school has been permanently closed,  while the single gate towards the western side  has been kept open for entrance and exit.
The MPT has also restricted parking for vehicles near the school compound by erecting iron bars.
On the other hand, parents of students of the primary section have  asked the MPT authorities to change the PTA committee. They  demanded suspension of  aaya (servant) and CISF personnel who were deployed  on January 14 when the rape took place. They also sought status of the number of teachers and servants employed for functioning of the school.
The parents also want to know the name of new headmistress, and what measures have been adopted by the school management for the safety of their children. [NT]