Mumbai: Goregaon hostel principal nabbed for molesting minor

Mumbai: Goregaon hostel principal nabbed for molesting minor

The matter surfaced when the victim ran away from the hostel on February 15 and took shelter in the home of one of the hostel’s female cleaners, to whom she narrated the entire incident.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Monday, February 20, 2023, 12:35 PM IST
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Mumbai: Goregaon hostel principal nabbed for molesting minor | Representative Image

Mumbai: The Bangur Link Road police have arrested a pastor, who is also the principal of an Oshiwara-based girls’ hostel, for repeatedly molesting and abusing a 14-year-old girl who resided in the same hostel.

The matter surfaced when the victim ran away from the hostel on February 15 and took shelter in the home of one of the hostel’s female cleaners, to whom she narrated the entire incident. The cleaner approached a lawyer and child rights activist Deepak Sonavane for assistance.

Sonavane said that the girl narrated the entire incident to him and his team. “She described her harrowing experiences at the hostel, where she was regularly molested since November 2022 by the principal. She recounted how she was beaten, starved, neglected and even deprived of sanitary pads when she raised any objection to the relentless sexual abuse. Despite pleading for help, the staff had continued to turn a blind eye to her plight,” Sonavane told this newspaper.

On February 16, Sonavane took the victim to the Bangur Nagar Link Road police station. He said that the police interrogated the girl for almost 10 hours before lodging a first information report (FIR) in the case.

“One must take cognisance of the police insensitivity, which under the pretext of due process traumatised the child further by making her sit through 10 hours of cross-examination. If this is the state of affairs when such high-ranking officers are around, what must happen when they aren’t? As a lawyer, I was surprised to see how often the police staff strayed from the proper protocol, such as when they noted a sanitised version of the girl’s narration instead of noting it verbatim. Won’t this deceptively simple deviation have severe repercussions,” asked Sonavane.

By the end, the girl was moved to a children’s home and presented before the child welfare committee as well. Confirming the matter, Pramod Tawade, senior police inspector of Bangur Nagar Link Road police station, said: “The accused pastor was arrested. He was remanded to judicial custody by the court.”

A case has been registered againsttheaccusedunder relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of ChildrenfromSexualOffences Act(POCSO).

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