A 16-YEAR-OLD girl was allegedly gangraped by four boys, all fellow students, at a reputed boarding school in Dehradun, police and officials probing the incident said.
They said the incident was kept under wraps for over a month by school authorities who threatened to expel the victim if she spoke about it even to her own family, including her younger sister who is a student in the same school.
On Monday, police arrested the four boys and five members of the school administration and staff — the director, principal, an administrative officer along with his wife, and a hostel caretaker — who were named in an FIR registered at the Sahaspur police station.
The case came to light Sunday, when Dehradun SSP Nivedita Kukreti received information about the alleged incident even as the girl was taken to a local clinic for tests to confirm the pregnancy and a possible abortion. A preliminary investigation was initiated, which confirmed that the girl had been gangraped, police said.
Police said that when the victim suspected that she may have become pregnant, following the alleged gangrape, the school administrative officer’s wife gave her “home remedies to terminate the pregnancy”, which resulted in the girl suffering from severe stomach ache. The victim’s parents, who live in Delhi, were informed about the incident by her sister over phone.
The FIR lodged by the victim’s father includes charges under IPC sections 376D (gangrape), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Sahaspur Station House Officer Naresh Rathod said.
On Tuesday, the school staff and one of the boys, who is an adult, were presented in the POCSO court in Dehradun and sent to judicial custody for 14 days. The three minor boys were taken to the juvenile justice board facility in Dehradun. “The six adults will be sent to the Dehradun district jail in Sudhowala, and the three minors to a juvenile correction home in Haridwar,” SHO Rathod said.
Police and officials said the incident occurred on August 14, when the students were preparing for cultural programmes to mark Independence Day. They said the girl was taken out of her class by one of the accused on the pretext that a teacher had called her.
However, police said, when the two reached an under-construction room on the school premises, the three other boys pulled her in and one of them gagged her.
“The boy who had called her out joined the three boys in the gangrape while warning the victim that she should tell no one about the incident or she will be defamed,” said Usha Negi, the chairperson of Uttarakhand’s child rights protection commission, who visited the school campus Monday and spoke to the victim.
“By August 16, the school authorities had been informed about the rape, but they blamed the girl instead. Subsequently, the girl didn’t get her monthly periods, and she told us that that’s when she suspected she might be pregnant,” Negi said.
“The school director and principal threatened her that they would expel her from the school if she told anyone about the rape or the pregnancy. She was strictly ordered that her parents and her younger sister, who is a student in the same school, must not be informed about the rape,” Negi said.
Chief Education Officer of Dehradun S B Joshi, who visited the school campus Tuesday, has recommended that the school’s CBSE affiliation be cancelled.
On Monday, the CBSE’s regional office in Dehradun had sent a show cause notice to the school over the incident. In their reply, the school’s authorities requested for the investigation to be completed before a decision is taken.