India: Principal charged with sexual assault of 60 girls; police investigate 3 student deaths linked to case

The former principal had allegedly molested around 250 girls in Haryana

By ANI

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Published: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 9:43 PM

Haryana Police on Monday informed that additional sections have been registered against the accused school principal in the sexual assault case of 60 minor girls in Jind.

Officials claimed that the sexual harassment committee formed to investigate the sexual assault case of 60 minor girls, held the school principal guilty.

However, police officials claimed that one of the victim girls had stepped down and refused to get her statement recorded under 164 CrPC but five of them recorded their statements which are credible and strong evidence against the accused principal.

Apart from that, police added more sections against the accused principal.

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Police had booked him under the Protection of Children from sexual offences (POCSO) (8) and 354 but now added 341, (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement) 506 (criminal intimidation) and POCSO (10) (Whoever commits an aggravated sexual assault shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine), said police officials.

Speaking to ANI, Balwan Singh, station house officer (SHO) deputed at Uchana Kalan police station said, "Five minor victim girls appeared before police and alleged bad touch by the school principal. One girl has stepped down citing personal reasons. Several girls have approached higher authorities but few of them have reached the police station."

"We are investigating the matter thoroughly and even asked three families to join the investigation whose daughters who were students of this school have died. One of these three girls has committed suicide and two reportedly died due to diseases. The investigation will go on for a long time and FSL reports are yet to come," he added.

Meanwhile, women activists of Jind district Sikkim Safa Kheri said, "We came to know through our sources that the accused principal who was posted at this school for past six years had made physical relations with around 30 girls and around 250 girls have alleged molestation but district officials are not investigating the matter thoroughly. Pressure is being mounted on girls to step down from the issue by threatening them."

"The Haryana government should transfer the staff of this school who are trying to put pressure on girls. Girls are under major pressure from staff and society who need genuine support at this time rather than putting them under fear or trauma," she added.

In this regard, Farmer leader Azad Palwa said "One of the bigwig politicians of Jind district is backing the accused. There are huge lapses while investigating the matter. The higher authorities or Punjab and Haryana courts should take cognizance of the matter to provide relief to minor girls. The matter is not being taken up seriously but farmer outfits may take a major call anytime if our daughters don't get justice."

Social activists and NCP leader Sonia Doohan said "We will take a concrete call soon into this matter. The Haryana government should carry out counselling of all girls studying in this school at a higher level. There will be more conspirators and conspiracy as 60 girls have approached women's commission but few of them came forward to record their statements. Haryana's daughters need moral and solid support on this issue."

"But it is very disheartening that the chief minister and deputy chief minister are silent on this serious matter where a number of minor girls have been exploited," she added.

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