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giovedì 16 marzo 2017
Kerala school teacher accused of abusing seven-year-old
Four days after the Cheruplassery police in Palakkad registered a case against a government school teacher for abusing a minor student, the teacher continues to be absconding, say police.
37-year-oldVP Sasikumar, has been accused of abusing a seven-year-old girl on March 8.
According to the district childline officials, a team led by the district coordinator visited the government school in the district based on a tip-off.
“We received a call on our toll-free number on Friday and visited the school to meet the girl child. In the process of counselling the girl, she said that she was indeed abused by the teacher a few days ago. We then forwarded the report to the Cheruplassery police,” the Childline official said.
According to them, the abuse took place on March 8. Sasikumar joined the school in July last year, after he got transferred from a school in Wayanad district.
Cheruplassery Sub-Inspector PC Chacko told The News Minute that a case has been registered against Sasikumar under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. However, the police have not been able to nab the teacher yet.
“We have formed three separate teams to search for Sasikumar. He is believed to be a Pattambi native. He cannot abscond for a long time,” the SI said.
When TNM reached out to the school, the Head Mistress of the school said that an internal inquiry has been ordered.
"Sasikumar has not turned up to class since March 10, Friday. He went on a casual leave for a day and failed to report to work on Monday. Police say that he is absconding. We have initiated an internal inquiry into the incident and the Assistant Education Officer (AEO) will now take necessary disciplinary action against Sasikumar. Based on the AEO's decision, Sasikumar is expected to be suspended from service," the HM said.
She added that neither have any similar complaints been raised against the teacher, nor have the parents of other students approached the school with similar complaints after the abuse of Class 2 student was reported.
Action against media
Palakkad childline officials told TNM that they have decided to move legally against certain media publications, after they reported sensitive information pertaining to the case. Those information, the officials maintain, is likely to tamper the identity of the victim.
"Some media outlets even reported the name of the school, which is against the law. In cases related to the abuse of minors, it is illegal to divulge any information that could help others identity the victim. The parents of the girl child are already worried, after several Malayalam publications gave away the name of the school. We are holding a meeting on Tuesday to decide on the further course of action," the official said.
According to the Childline activists, the incident is just the latest in a string of child sexual abuse cases that have rocked the region. The statistics available with the Kerala police show that the district with 207 cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, stands third in terms of the number of child sexual abuse cases registered in 2016. For instance, the agency intervened in over 90 child sexual abuse cases from April 2016 to February 2017 as against 81 cases during the previous year. The number of abuse cases reported by the agency steadily rose from 53 in 2013-14 to 68 in 2014-15. Of the 2,093 cases registered during the year, Thiruvanathapuram tops the list with 246 while Malappuram stands second with 241 cases.
Two days ago, the city police arrested a 32-year-old migrant worker from Edappally on charges of sexually abusing his 11-year-old niece. Preliminary investigations revealed that Sheyasi Sheikh, a native of Uttar Pradesh, had abused the girl on several occasions. Her ordeal was revealed when a neighbour witnessed the incident even as her parents remained in denial for long. They eventually succumbed to intense grilling by the police and the accused landed in police custody.
Adding to the concerns, the average age of victims involved in sexual abuse cases has come down to 10-11 years from 15-16 years reported a few years ago,” says Childline (Kochi) coordinator Nirish Antony.
A senior officer with the Kochi city police says there might still be cases that go unreported.