Tribal schoolgirls sexually assaulted by headmaster
The Hindustan Times, Correspondent
(Hyderabad, October 20)

IN A shocking incident, inmates of a residential school for tribal girls at Jamiguda in Visakhapatnam were sexually assaulted by their teachers. The headmaster of the school has been suspended and District Collector M.T. Krishna Babu has ordered a probe into the episode

The parents of the students of this Tribal Welfare Department-run school today gathered in large numbers near the school and demanded stringent action against the head master, the hostel cook, the watchman and the matron, whom they termed as the "real culprits".

The parents told the inquiring officers that the headmaster used to force the girls into accompanying him to his room at Araku, which is 8 km away from the school. He also used to send for them through his watchman at odd hours.

A Class VIII student, who said she was raped by a teacher, is three months pregnant. Some of her classmates and seniors have also complained of sexual assault.

The girl told the District Joint Collector, who was in the school today, that the watchman came to her house in the village during Dussehra vacations on September 17 and created a scene when she had refused to go to the head master's room at Araku. The next day, the girl was suspended from attending the school for one week.

The girl reported the matter to a Girijan student union which took it up with the Joint Collector.

Minister for tribal welfare M. Mani Kumari had rushed to Jamiguda on Friday. She had a difficult time pacifying the parents of the victims, who did not want their wards to continue in the school. She said stringent action would be taken against the culprits.

The minister said that she would ensure that, in future, all the ashram girl schools were run by women only. The school has a total of 14 teachers, including seven men. A senior gynaecologist from Visakhapatnam is likely to examine the girls.

A similar incident involving a Ashram school student was reported in the district in 1997. But nothing came of it.

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