Hyderabad: Child Raped in School by Principal’s Driver; Accused Arrested

New Delhi: A four-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by an employee of the principal of the private school that she attended in Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills, raising questions about accountability and safety.

The police said that the accused was arrested, while the victim was sent for medical examination and handed over to her parents. Parents of the girl and other students have been protesting at the school on Tuesday and Wednesday, demanding action against school authorities for allowing a person who is not an employee to have unchecked access to the premises.

The girl’s mother complained to the police on Tuesday that her daughter, who has been studying in the school for the last five months, told her about some pain in her legs. According to The News Minute, the mother said that her daughter had been in pain and distress for nearly two months and had finally opened up to her on Tuesday, October 18.

“She has been crying every day for two months but didn’t say much. She has been complaining of pain,” she told reporters on Wednesday. “Yesterday, when I coaxed her a bit more, she finally spoke about it.”

The girl’s parents rushed to the school to enquire about the matter. As they were entering the premises, the girl identified the person who had harassed her. The man was found to be a car driver of the school principal, police said.

The girl’s parents were of the opinion that the incident indicates the principal’s negligence. They requested that action as per law be taken against the accused and also the principal, they said.

The accused has been arrested and action would be taken against the principal, police said.

According to TNM, the driver Rajani Kumar allegedly raped the child in a digital classroom in the school over the past two to three months. A police officer told the website that the driver had access to the classroom as he would often handle the equipment and play cartoons for kindergarteners.

The child’s parents also accused the school authorities of not supporting them after the incident was reported on Tuesday. “We told the principal what our daughter told us, but she didn’t say anything,” the mother said. “We have lost trust in this school. We cannot send our kids to a school with such a principal, she must be sacked,” she added, according to TNM.

Other parents also protested at the school premises, saying they were concerned for the safety of their children. “Our primary concern is the safety of our children. How did a person who is not an employee of the school enjoy the privilege of roaming the school campus and also monitor students? Our children have told us that whenever there’s a shortage of staff, the accused sometimes would monitor the class. How did the management allow this?” a parent asked, according to the website.

Banjara Hills police have registered a case against the driver under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The principal has also been booked under Section 21 (punishment for failure to report or record a case) of the POCSO Act. She is absconding, but police were confident that she would be arrested on Wednesday.

Featured image: Representative image. People carry signs against a gang rape. Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro/File Photo

This article was first published on The Wire.