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Sexual Abuse Cases Unfold in Haryana Schools, Prompt Safety Concerns

Two concerning cases of sexual abuse in two respective government schools in Kaithal and Jind have created a stir.
Sexual violence

New Delhi: In recent developments within Haryana’s educational landscape, disturbing reports of sexual abuse in government schools have emerged from two separate districts, Kaithal and Jind. These incidents have brought into focus the vulnerability of students and raised significant concerns regarding safety within the state's schools.

Kaithal Sexual Abuse Case

In Kaithal, villagers have criticised the teachers for being “mute spectators” to the accused principal's actions, demanding the transfer of the entire staff. Villagers claimed that the teachers failed to intervene despite witnessing the harassment faced by the students, the Tribune reported.

Two class XII students from a government senior secondary school in Kaithal revealed a case of sexual harassment on December 4, aided by the father of the village sarpanch. They filed a written complaint against the school principal, Ravi Kumar, who has since been arrested. Another individual, a construction contractor linked to the school, remains at large.

According to the victims, the contractor and principal allegedly compelled female students to serve them during lunch breaks, and the contractor frequently intruded into their classrooms without valid reasons. The harassment persisted, with the victims reporting threats of expulsion if they spoke out.

The inadequate functioning of CCTV cameras at the school came to light, prompting the District Education Officer (DEO) to seek a status report on CCTV installations from all Block Education Officers (BEOs), the Tribune reported. Additionally, the DEO mandated the formation and activation of anti-sexual harassment committees within schools to educate students on recognising and reporting such incidents.

400 Girls Depose in Jind School Case

In a parallel development in Jind, a government senior secondary school faced allegations resulting in a comprehensive investigation. After over 40 days from the FIR filing, the police filed a chargesheet against the school's former principal. The accused faces multiple charges under relevant sections of the IPC, POCSO Act, and SC/ST Act, pertaining to allegations of aggravated sexual harassment, intimidation, and wrongful confinement.

According to sources who spoke to the Tribune, the investigation involved statements from around 400 girls, forming a substantial part of the chargesheet. Furthermore, the police scrutinised the electronic devices and social media accounts of the accused, intending to supplement the chargesheet based on these findings.

As per the SIT probing the case, while the chargesheet relied significantly on the testimony of six victims deposed under Section 164 of the CrPC, the police extensively examined all students and staff members. They also reached out to former students and their parents to gather additional information. Although allegations surfaced against a woman teacher, current facts do not warrant her arrest, and the investigation remains open to further evidence, the SIT said.

The situation of women and child safety remains concerning in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state. According to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 16,743 recorded cases of crimes against women in Haryana in 2022. The cases related to crime against women saw a 27% rise in Haryana from 2020 to 2021. The number of such cases went from 13,000 in 2020 to 16,658 cases in 2021. 

Moreover, the rate of crimes against women in Haryana is 118.7, just following Delhi (144), and far above the national average of 66.4.

Crime against children also saw a considerable rise in Haryana over the past few years, from 4,338 in 2020 to 6,138 in 2023.

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