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Children not even safe in schools; Class I student raped in Bangalore

By Pravin

School students protesting against rape of a girl
The alleged rape of a minor girl in her school in East Bangalore not only depicts sick mentality of the culprits but also highlighted the alarming issue of security lapses in schools. A six-year-old girl was reportedly gangraped by two staffers of a private school near Kundalahalli Gate in Bangalore. The heinous act was committed by two gym instructors within school premises during the school hours.

According to media reports, girl was allegedly raped on July 2 but she didn't reveal anything to her parents immediately. Last week, she complained of stomachache, when asked, she narrated her ordeal.

The incident sparked outrage amongst the parents, many of whom protested outside the school on Thursday.

This is not the first time when rape of a minor in school or care centre is making headlines. In march, 2013, a 7-year-old girl was raped inside school in Mangolpuri area on Delhi.

In January, 2012, Paul Francis Meekan, the British headmaster of Trio World School in Bangalore, was arrested for allegedly sending vulgar messages through a social networking website to one of his boy students.

Last month, the owner and manager of a children's boarding school was arrested on charges of raping five minors in Maharashtra. The 52-year-old owner of the Chandraprabha Charitable Trust also forced the minors to watch pornographic films and act them out with one another.

In May 2012, serious sexual abuse was uncovered at a residential care home for orphans know as Apna Ghar in Rohtak district of Haryana.

Undoubtedly, child sexual abuse is disturbingly common in India, but recent incidents show that the innocent kids are not even safe in schools and residential care facilities, where their parents send them with utmost confidence.

Sexual abuse of children in schools is best kept secrets

Professionals working against child sexual abuse say that there are thousands of cases that remain undisclosed. Like this issue where the incident remained unnoticed for many days, most of the time the culprits enjoy immunity because the parents and schools chose to remain mum. Be it fear of long legal course, social stigma or any other reason, the parents chose to remain quiet on the issue while the school in an attempt to protect their image or brand ignore it giving leverage to the offenders to roam freely.

In march, 2013, 7-year-old girl was raped inside school in Mangolpuri, New Delhi

The reason for increasing number of crimes against children are the weak laws in our country. Most laws related to child sexual abuse are clubbed with those related to women. Taking advantage of legal framework, culprits get away very easily.

Greater awareness in schools and homes need of hour

Greater awareness is need of hour to minimise the number of such cases. Given the environment where the culprits are either not traced or let off easily, laws will not ensure child safety. School and parents must put stringent measures to prevent their kids from such predators. Moreover, CCTV installations, training to 'ayahs' (maids), recruitment of counsellors could strengthen safety of children in schools.

In contrast to this case, where school is refusing to take responsibility, the institutions should come forward and take initiative to redress the grievances of victims. The Education Ministry should ensure that every school must follow awareness campaign under POSCO Act 2012.

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