News Karnataka
Saturday, April 13 2024

Bus attendant ‘molests’ 8 children of Thane school on a picnic

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According to police, a 27-year-old bus attendant was taken into custody on Wednesday after he was accused of sexually harassing eight pupils from a private school in Thane on Tuesday during a school picnic.

Police claim that while serving the children in the 7–8 age group on the bus on their way to a picnic at a theme park in Ghatkopar, attendant Javed Mohammad Khan touched them inappropriately.

“The accused touched the eight children, including girls and two boys, in an inappropriate manner while he was distributing the food packets. All the children were students of Class 2. We have arrested him and we are taking him to the court,” said Sandeep Dhande, inspector of the police station, where the FIR has been registered.

The Indian Penal Code’s sections 354, 354(A), and 509 as well as the pertinent provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act have been used to charge the accused. “The school enlisted the help of a private picnic organizer who owned the bus. Khan had been paid on a daily basis by the agency for ten years, the inspector continued.

The children’s parents said that the incident, which happened while three teachers were also on the bus, was reported by one of the girls. This is how the matter came to light.

“After we found out about the girl’s complaint through the parents’ group, all of us spoke to our children and we found out that several children were touched inappropriately by the attendant… What were the teachers doing?” one of the parents questioned.

Another parent added, “When we tried to raise the matter with the principal and teachers, they dismissed our claims. But how can so many children, that too minors, lie about this incident. It was only after much pressure that the teachers apologised.”

Police said that further investigation is underway.

When contacted, the principal of the school told that three teachers who had accompanied the children to the picnic have been “terminated from service” pending inquiry and that the school has formed an internal inquiry committee, comprising all senior members of the management.

“Through the tour operator, we ensured that the culprit was produced in the police station last night itself and he was arrested…,” adding that their school has called off all the future excursions planned through the tour company.

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