A 35-YEAR-old man was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a four-year-old student of a Bhandup school in 2014. The incident had taken place in the washroom of the school in which the victim was enrolled in kindergarten. The accused, a non-teaching supervisor in the school, allegedly followed the child to the washroom and after threatening her against shouting, forced himself on her. The girl felt threatened and did not speak to anyone at home about the incident.
Later, the child started experiencing stomach ache and told her grandmother about it. According to the police, the girl’s family did not want to file a complaint fearing social stigma. It was only after a social worker came to know about the incident that she began persuading the parents of the girl to approach the police. The family then approached the police and an FIR was registered against an unknown person.
Based on the description the minor gave, the police arrested the accused and booked him under Sections 354 (A) (sexual harassment) and 376 (rape), along with three sections under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. After the incident came to light, the girl’s parents protested near the school demanding that strict action be against the authorities. Among the nine witnesses who deposed before the special POCSO court were the victim, her mother and her grandmother.
The accused had brought before the court four defence witnesses, including the attendant of the school washroom, claiming that no such incident took place. In 2015, the accused filed an application before the court seeking to undergo a brain mapping test claiming that while the victim, in her statement, had identified the culprit as “chota sir”, he was not known by that name in the school. The man claimed that he had been falsely implicated.
The court rejected his plea stating that there was prima facie evidence against him being called “chota sir” as per the victim’s description. On Thursday, the court found that there was enough evidence to prove that the minor had been sexually abused by the accused. The man was sentenced to life imprisonment and directed to pay the child Rs 25,000 as compensation.