It was a year ago that the parents of a 10-year-old girl sent her to Delhi from a village in Uttar Pradesh, so she could go to a good school. Born to daily wage labourers, the minor got admitted in an MCD school last year, and began living with her maternal aunt and her family.
On Tuesday, the girl was allegedly raped by the sweeper of the school inside the premises. The matter came to light on Friday when the girl confided in her aunt, and on Saturday, an FIR under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was lodged.
“The minor recognised the photo of the sweeper and he was arrested on Saturday. He is 38 years old, and had been employed in the school for the last six months,” said Meghna Yadav, DCP (Shahdara).
Police are investigating if the accused has been chargesheeted in the past.
A family member said the incident took place between 1 and 2 pm on Tuesday, at a secluded spot inside the school.
“When her aunt went to pick her up from school around 1 pm, she couldn’t find her. An hour later, the girl was seen by her uncle, walking near the back gate. She didn’t say anything and didn’t go to school afterwards, complaining of fever and stomach ache,” said the relative.
When the minor was taken to a private doctor on Thursday, he alerted the family that the girl “seemed traumatised and was refusing to go to school”.
“She then told her aunt that the sweeper raped her on Tuesday, and that he threatened her not to tell anyone. She told us that he said, ‘Tujhe maar doonga, tere parivaar ko bhi.’ She was petrified and that’s why she stayed silent for three days,” said the relative.
The minor’s statement was recorded in front of a magistrate on Saturday.
A senior East Delhi Municipal Corporation official said the sweeper has been suspended.
The school where the girl studied did not have CCTVs or security guards, the official said.
The official said that at the moment, caretakers perform the dual roles of a guard and looking after school infrastructure. When contacted, leader of the opposition Pravin Kumar said the corporation does not care about the security of schools, and a CCTV could have deterred such an incident.