The parents of a six-year-old girl in Ranchi have alleged that a private school asked them to pull her out of the institution because she is a rape victim.
According to the girl’s stepmother, the six-year-old and her stepsister were admitted to R N G Public School last Wednesday. “On Saturday, when I went to fetch the children from school, I was asked by the principal to return her fee receipt. On Monday, the principal told me I should not bring my daughter because she is a rape victim. This led to an hour-long argument,” said the stepmother.
The girl’s father, a vegetable seller, said she and her nine-year-old brother were sexually abused by a minor who lived in the neighbourhood.
According to a copy of the FIR, the boy would come to their home on the pretext of helping the children study, and then sexually abuse both of them. On January 10, 2015, an FIR was filed at Kokar police station under IPC Sections 376 (rape) and 377 (unnatural sex), as well as the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act. The accused was taken into custody the next day.
“He is currently out on bail. I am still not sure who told the school about this incident,” said the father. “Maybe some people in our basti are against me. If you think like this, you have no right to be in the teaching profession.”
As news of the incident spread, locals gathered at the school to have a word with the principal, Reena Kumari. “The principal did not meet us today. The school authorities gave an excuse. They insisted that the matter is resolved and there was some confusion. They said they had to face a lot of trouble in a case where an older male student was accused of rape. Apparently they did not want trouble again. But what is the connection between that boy and my daughter?” asked the father. He added that they did not want any trouble, but only for their daughter to get a good education.
When contacted, Kumari said, “There was no such issue. I never asked them to pull their daughter out. The parents were under some confusion.”
The school’s director Raj Narayan Yadav, who opened the institution in 2005, said, “This is a case of confusion and panic on the part of the principal. I was not at the school when the alleged argument started. Today, when the parents met me, I assured them that the girl would study in this school.”
Yadav said that last year, a former student was accused of raping a minor girl. “The case had nothing to do with us. He left our school and joined another one, where he was accused of rape. But we had to help with the police investigation and appear before the court to clarify certain things. The principal, it appears, was wary of a similar situation,” said Yadav.
“Some women from the girl’s basti had come here and made an issue over admitting her. It was then that the principal asked for her birth certificate. My assessment is that she (the principal) panicked due to last year’s case. But at no stage were the parents told that the girl would not be allowed to study,” Yadav said.
Ranchi District Superintendent of Education Jayant Mishra said that they have not received any official complaint so far. “If a complaint comes, we will act as per legal provisions. No school is supposed to remove any student, least of all on such grounds,” Mishra said.