THE ASHRAM school in Buldhana district, where allegations of rape of girl students have surfaced, reportedly did not have basic infrastructure for students, according to state’s Women’s Commission chief Vijaya Rahatkar. Rahatkar, who visited the Nanji Kokare Adivasi Ashramshala at Lokanda Pala in Khamgaon taluka of Buldhana district, found that the students had been made to live in a hall without proper facilities.
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“The living condition was very poor as 105 girls had to put up in a single hall. There was no bed for the students, and they had to sleep on the floor,” said Rahatkar, adding the government-aided residential school did not have an attached toilet facility for the girls.
“The toilets were not only dirty, they were quite far from the hall where the girls were made to stay. The way to the toilet did not have proper lights and it would have been difficult for the girls to use the loos at night,” said Rahatkar. She said the facilities in the school and the lack thereof had compromised the safety of the girls.
According to Rahatkar, the school had also recorded inflated enrollment figures to get more grants from the government. “This is an old practice to get money from the government. Another practice common among family-owned trusts is appointing family members as school officials,” she said, pointing out the need for strict monitoring of Ashram schools.
Rahatkar had visited the school days after the first allegation of rape surfaced. The case came to light after the family of a Class IV student at the residential school approached former minister Eknath Khadse earlier last week. Following 11 arrests on Thursday, another girl from the same class came forward with a complaint on Saturday. The police have so far arrested 15 people, including prime accused Ittusingh Pawar.
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