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Child safety is responsibility of schools: Child rights
NEW DELHI, SEPT 18 (IANS):
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Published on 19 Sep. 2010 1:25 AM IST
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Child rights organisations and others have condemned the alleged sexual molestation of three school-going siblings by their van driver for a year and a half and said it is the responsibility of schools to ensure that children enter and leave schools with complete safety.
The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has condemned the incident and ordered an inquiry into the matter. It has also sent notices to the schools where the children are studying.
Amod Kanth, chairperson of DCPCR, said a high-level inquiry would be held and everyone including the school authorities, the childrens’ mother, police and the education department officials questioned.
Terming it a serious issue, Kanth said: “Schools have to ensure that children enter and leave the school premises safely. It is their responsibility to ensure complete security of the children. Children are vulnerable and have to be under constant guardianship.”
School van driver Lalit Ratawal, 32, was Saturday sent to two-days’ police custody by a court. He has been accused of sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl and her two minor brothers for over a year.
The officiating principal of the school where the girl studies, expressing shock over the incident, said: “I am in absolute shock. I have no knowledge of the incident. Most of the children who study in the school belong to the economically weaker sections. After sending their children to school the parents just don’t bother. They neither come for any meeting nor verify important matters such as the whereabouts of the drivers who ferry their children.”
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), reacting to the incident, said that perpetrators of such crimes should be dealt with strictly under the law. Shanta Sinha, chairperson, NCPCR said: “We don’t know how many more such cases are there. The public should be aware. In this case even the mother was helpless.”
According to Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research (CSR), the school authorities should have been more vigilant and there should have been an effective screening procedure for transporters in place.
“Moreover, if this was happening for more than a year why did the school authorities, including the teachers, not see any changes in the kids’ behaviour? The child must be behaving differently, why did the teachers not notice this,” she said. Ranjana Kumari described it as a chilling incident and the most heinous form of crime.
Kids’ sexual abuse
A school cab driver accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and her two minor brothers was sent to two days’ police custody by a city court Saturday, as police detained two minors over the incident that took place in central Delhi.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja ordered police to present cab driver Lalit Ratawal, 32, in court Sep 20. He was arrested Friday. Jaspal Singh, deputy commissioner of police (central), told IANS: “We have detained two minors in the case and are currently questioning them. The hunt for the other two minor accused is still on.”
Earlier Saturday morning, relatives of the children and neighbours slapped and assaulted Ratawal when he was being taken to court. According to police, besides sexually exploiting the three children, Ratawal was also involved in making MMS of the victims and the police needed time to find out information regarding it.
The accused, a resident of Bapa Nagar in Karol Bagh, would take the siblings to unknown destinations where he along with his four associates, aged below 18, would rape the girl and sodomise her two brothers, aged seven and 13. This continued for over a year and a half, police said.
Ratawal had threatened to kill the children’s mother if they spoke of the ordeal to anyone. Hence, the heinous activities continued for more than a year, said a police official.
The girl told her mother a few weeks back, but the mother was scared and did not report the matter to the police. It was only after a neighbour intervened that the police were informed.
A medical examination of the girl confirmed sexual assault, police said. Ratawal was arrested Friday. A hunt has been launched to nab the four minor associates of Ratawal. “My childrens’ future is ruined. The police are not at all sympathetic and not taking any strict action against the culprits,” the mother of the children told reporters. The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) also swung into action Saturday and ordered an inquiry into the matter.
It has sent notices to the schools where the children are studying. Amod Kanth, chairperson of DCPCR, said a high-level inquiry would be held and everyone including the school authorities, the childrens’ mother, police and the education department officials would be questioned.
Kanth said: “Schools have to ensure that children enter and leave the school premises safely. It is their responsibility to ensure complete security of the children.”
A National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) official said that perpetrators of such crimes should be dealt with strictly.
Shanta Sinha, chairperson, NCPCR, said: “We don’t know how many more such cases are there. The public should be aware. In this case even the mother was helpless.”
According to Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research (CSR), the school authorities should have been more vigilant and there should have been in place an effective screening procedure for transporters.
Ratawal was arrested Friday, but some of his associates are absconding. The children’s father died two years ago and the family was surviving on rent received from their property.

 
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