17 school girls sedated, molested by teacher in UP's Muzaffarnagar
Seventeen girl students of Class 10 were called to school and asked to stay overnight purportedly for a practical exam. Instead, they were offered food laced with sedatives and molested by the school principal and his aide, their parents allege. The grisly incident reportedly took place on November 18 in Muzaffarnagar district, Uttar Pradesh but the police case came weeks later.
- This marks yet another instance of sexual assault against minor girls in UP.
- The northern state, which neighbors national capital Delhi, has one of the worst crime rates in India.
- In 2020, it recorded the second highest number of rapes at 2,769, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- The case also highlights the issue of police negligence in the state.
On the night of November 17, the girls were taken to a school on the pretext of a practical exam. They were given dinner laced with sedatives after which they fell unconscious and were molested. The students were even threatened not to talk about it or their family members would be killed. But some of the victims later informed their parents about the crime.
The case received wider attention only after parents of two of the victims approached a local politician. Pramod Utwal, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Purkazi, contacted SSP Abhishek Yadav following which an inquiry was launched. Meanwhile, the in-charge of the police station under which the school falls has been removed. He now faces a department inquiry for delaying action in the case.
Parents said they had sent their children in "good faith." "We were not too worried about them as they were in a large group of almost 20. We thought they could take care of themselves together," a parent told TOI. "The girls are so terrified that they have not gone to school since the night of November 17," MLA Utwal told The Indian Express.
Police said one of the two accused has been arrested and search is underway to nab the other. They have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, according to officials. District Inspector of Schools Gajendra Kumar said they will approach the Central Board of Secondary Education to derecognize the schools.