The Aizawl District and Sessions Court on Wednesday began hearing the case of a primary school teacher who was arrested last November for molesting 32 schoolgirls at Saichal village, about 150 km from the state capital.
H Lalhmingmawia, the accused, pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against him.
Thirty-year-old H Lalhmingmawia was accused of molesting 32 of his female students — all between the ages of 8 and 12 years — at the government primary school there.
The police investigation whittled down the list to 27 victims after concluding that several kids were apparently touched by the teacher on parts of their body that might not be considered sexual.
The prosecution on Wednesday brought before District and Sessions Judge 15 cases under POCSO (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act 2012) against H Lalhmingmawia.
Seven of theses cases were however changed to offences under IPC 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) and transferred by the court to a Judicial Magistrate for further action.
The eight POCSO cases have further been divided between sections 6 and 8 of the law: three cases under section 6, five under section 8, according to Additional Public Prosecutor K Lalremruati.
Section 6 deals with “aggravated penetrative sexual assault” and carries a jail term of no less than 10 years which may be extended to a life term. Section 8 deals with “sexual assault” and carries a jail term of between three to five years.
The teacher, who is also a native of Saichal village, was arrested after being accused of molesting his schoolchildren over two years. Specifically, he is accused of raping one thrice, touching another on her private parts till she bled, and the rest on different parts of their body.