At least eight students of a government-funded residential school at Sangli district in Maharashtra were allegedly raped and sexually abused for the last six months by the principal, who was arrested on Wednesday along with a woman employee of the institution. Police started an investigation after a letter by an anonymous sender alerted them about the abuse in the school on Tuesday. The school houses girls belonging to nomadic tribes.
Initial investigation has revealed that five girls were raped and three more molested by the principal multiple times in the last six months. Seven of the eight victims are between 13 to 16 years old, while one of them is 19 years old, said police.
Police suspect the number of girls who suffered sexual abuse may be higher, as the school has nearly 70 students. The statements of some of the girls, who have left the school, are yet to be recorded.
“On Tuesday, the local police station received an anonymous letter, which alleged that girls at the residential school were being sexually abused. A team led by a woman officer was sent to the school and a preliminary inquiry was conducted. The allegations were found to be true. Subsequently, officials from the local units of the child welfare department and women and child development department were informed,” said Kishor Kale, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Islampur division.
“Till now, it has come to light that five girls were raped and three more were molested by the principal, who was helped by the woman employee of the school,” he added.
“An FIR has been registered and two persons have been arrested on Wednesday,” said Sangli District Superintendent of Police Suhail Sharma.