Child sex abuse in schools has returned to haunt Bengaluru, India, and this time the victim is a three-year-old girl, who was allegedly sexually assaulted in a private school.
Even as the culprit, the school's watchman, has been arrested, child rights activists say faster trials and better safety checks are needed in a city that has seen many such cases in 2013.
While parents have staged protests at the school in east Bengaluru, police say they are awaiting final medical reports before taking further action.
According to Child rights activist Father Edward Thomas, the some bruises have been identified and the child "quite active" at a government hospital. He added that the investigation into the incident was on.
Meanwhile, police have a strong case after they questioned the school's staff members and the child's family. The victim's elder sister studies in the same school and CCTV footage has also been seized. While this is the first case reported in a school campus this year, the fact is that the dismal conviction rate in POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) cases lodged last year have ensured there is nothing to deter the criminal mind.
Criminal minds, or any other minds, have nothing to do with paedophilia. Active paedophiles don't think about whether or not they will get away with molesting little children, but only about how they can make it happen. Paedophilia is more 'spiritual' than 'criminal' oriented. It is nothing less than the destruction of innocence - that is its real motivation, sex abuse is just the vehicle by which innocence is destroyed. Paedophilia is pure evil in every sense of the word.
Of the 289 POCSO cases lodged in 2014, less than 25 trials have actually ended and their have been convictions in less than 10% of the cases.
That's heart-breaking! POCSO started with such promise and is already nearly a complete failure. Can there be any hope whatsoever for the little girls of India?
Also, trials in cases of minors raped by school staff in July - October last year are yet to conclude.
The Karnataka Child Rights Commission, which has taken up a sou motu (meaning "on its own motion,") case, says it is trying to pressurise the government to speed up trials.
"POCSO cases should conclude in a year's time, and that has not been happening. We need more fast-track courts, exclusive POCSO courts even…we need to put pressure on departments," said Dr Kripa Amar Alva, chairperson, Karnataka Child Rights Commission.
After the spate of sexual assault cases in Bengaluru in 2013, most schools have complied with security guidelines such as CCTVs and better protocols. But the latest shocker has brought back fear in the minds of parents.
From the Times of India
The father of the survivor, an employee with a restaurant, said, "I picked her up around 12noon. And when she reached home, she was crying constantly. Even when her mother asked her what had happened, she continued to cry. After realizing that she had been sexually assaulted, we took her to Bowring Hospital where we were told to inform the police."
A police complaint was registered on Monday night and medical tests went on till late night. During this time, the older sister of the survivor told police about her suspicions against the security guard.
"She told us that on previous occasions, she had seen the watchman calling out to the victim by name, making her sit on his lap and hug and gift her chocolates," said Sateesh Kumar N, deputy commissioner of police, Bengaluru east.
The guard has confessed to the crime, police said.