Bhopal: Child Raped in School Bus, FIR Filed Under POCSO Act

Bhopal: A case was registered against the management of a school in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday after a 3-and-half-year-old girl was raped in the facility’s bus allegedly by its driver in the presence of a woman attendant on September 8.

Additional deputy commissioner of police Shrutikriti Somvanshi said a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has been registered against the school’s chairman Najam Jamal, director operation Faizal Ali, principal Ashish Agarwal and transport manager Syed Bilal for alleged suppression of evidence.

They had reported the rape incident of September 8 on September 9, he told PTI, adding that Indian Penal Code provisions had been invoked for flouting Supreme Court guidelines and transport rules in connection with school bus safety.

Earlier in the day, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the incident had “shaken the belief of people” and asked officials to take strict action against the accused and the school management.

“Parents send their children to school with a lot of faith in the institution. It is the duty of the school management to ensure the trust is not broken. Strict action must be taken against the driver and woman attendant as well as the school management,” the CM said in an emergency meeting held in his official residence at 7 am on Thursday.

“It is the duty of the school management to ensure police verification of the bus staff. We can’t leave children at the hands of barbarians,” said Chouhan, who also expressed anguish that the vehicle’s CCTV cameras were not functioning.

He said the school belongs to an influential person and the administration must ensure strict action against the management or else a message will be sent in society that nothing happens to such persons.

He asked officials to ensure police verification of all school bus staff in the capital, and hold workshops to train staff as well as make parents and children aware of the provisions of the POCSO.

As per the CM’s order, a special investigation team (SIT) under the additional commissioner of police Shrutikirti Somvanshi has been formed to probe the case.