Karnataka: Schools hushing up sexual abuse cases

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officer said that only a few cases have come to light and reported by the media.

Sexual harassment incidents are occurring in many schools, but are being hushed up with the connivance of the police and government officials, allege parents of schoolchildren. They are also worried about delay in cases, which denies the victims justice.

These allegations seem to be confirmed by the information given by state education minister Tanveer Sait to former education minister Vishweshwara Hegade Kageri on the floor of the Assembly recently.

Answering Mr Kageri’s question, Mr Sait said that in the academic years of 2014-15 and 2016-17, fifteen incidents of sexual assault targeting girl children have been reported in Bengaluru. But none of these victims have got justice yet, as the cases are at various stages of hearing and investigation. According to the data provided by Mr Sait, in several cases, the victims are girls from pre-nursery schools and the culprits are staff.

An officer said that only a few cases have come to light and reported by the media. “Fifteen cases in two-and-a-half years is really shocking,” he said. Mr Nagasimha G. Rao, nodal officer, Child Help Line 1098, said the government should come out with concrete measures based on this data. “Data provided by the government is like a mirror to our society. There is an urgent need for a concrete action plan,” he said.

“The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act has different definitions for sexual assault, sexual harassment etc. We need to sensitise teachers and children about these issues. But private schools are probably not doing it, and that is why children are vulnerable in such schools,” he said.

Source of information
Information regarding sexual harassment/ assault was given by Tanveer Sait, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, on March 23 while answering a question by former education minister Vishweshwara Hegade Kageri.

Major cases
A teacher, Devaraj, of Gandhi Memorial School, RT Nagar, harassed girls in November 2014
A guard sexually harasses girls at Holy Christ School in Indiranagar in 2015

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