Govt shuts down tribal school after minor’s rape in Buldhana

CM says matter to be probed further, 11 arrested so far

Buldhana: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Tuesday, said the Buldhana rape incident will be probed under the supervision of a female IPS officer Arti Singh and assured that strict action will be taken against the accused.

“The government has taken cognizance of the issue. The accused, school administrators and directors have been arrested. We have organized a team to probe this matter under the supervision of a female IPS officer,” Fadnavis said.

He further said that in order to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, the government will appoint women officers that will go and talk to girls in schools and ashrams and in case of any discrepancy strict action will be taken.

So far, eleven persons out of thirteen have been arrested for raping a minor girl from this school. The incident occurred in a private boarding school, Ninadhi Ashran School, in Hivarkheda, Buldhana district of Maharashtra, 450 km from Mumbai. Sanjay Baviskar, Superintendent of Police (SP), Buldhana, said, a case under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), POSCO Act and Juvenile Justice Act has been registered against the accused. The others arrested have been booked under various relevant sections of IPC, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and SC/ST Atrocities Act.

The accused include president, secretary, joint secretary and staff of the school. The Director General of Maharashtra Police SatishMathur said that only one girl has complained of a rape incident. “We have taken action immediately after being informed by the local sarpanch,” Mathur told reporters. Those arrested include staff members of the school who did not bring this incident to the notice of police, Mathur said.

“The victim has named one person. Investigation is underway,” the police official said. Main accused is named as Bharat Lagurkar.

However, District Guardian Minister Pandurang Phundkar, who is camping in his constituency (Khamgaon) to monitor the progress of the investigations, had earlier said that two girls had complained of alleged sexual abuse. Former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse was approached recently by the family of the victim who belong to his constituency, Muktainagar (Jalgaon). Khadse informed Phundkar, who then asked police to look into the matter.

Mathur said the police will collect more information from students and other officials once the school reopens.

Maharashtra has more than 1,000 residential schools called ashram shalas which are run either directly by the state government or by trusts supported by the state government through grant in aid. Around 4.45 lakh students are studying these schools; out of which 1.99 lakh are girls. –Agencies

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