A three-and-a-half-year-old nursery student was raped allegedly by her school bus driver inside the vehicle in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal, a police official said on Tuesday. The police have arrested the bus driver and a woman attendant who, according to the child’s parents, was present inside the vehicle at the time of the crime last Thursday (September 8), the official said.
The Bhopal district administration has demolished the “illegal” house of the accused driver on directives of authorities, an official said. The revenue and Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) squads in a joint operation demolished the bus driver’s illegal house, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Kshitij Sharma said on Tuesday. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the government has taken the incident very seriously.
The accused (persons) have been arrested in the school bus case. This incident of rape has been put in the category of the identified crime so that the trial of the case can be conducted at the earliest, and the harshest punishment ensured,” he said. When asked if the school management allegedly tried to cover up the matter, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said the role of the school administration will be investigated and action taken accordingly. The school principal could not be contacted for a reaction.
The girl, studying in a leading private school in the city, was returning home in the bus when the incident occurred. After the girl returned home, her mother noticed that someone had changed her clothes with the spare set kept in her bag, the police official said.
The mother enquired with her daughter’s class teacher and also the school principal, but both of them denied having changed the child’s clothes. “The girl later complained of pain in her private parts. Her parents took her into confidence and counselled her, following which she informed them that the bus driver had abused her and also changed her clothes,” the police official said.
The parents went to the school the next day to complain to authorities and the child identified the driver, the official said. “The girl’s parents filed a complaint with the police on Monday, following which a probe was launched,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Nidhi Saxena said.
At the time of the incident, a woman attendant was present inside the bus, as per the complaint filed by the child’s parents, the police said. The bus driver and the woman attendant have been arrested, the ACP said.
A case has been registered under Indian Penal Code section 376-AB (rape of a girl under 12 years of age) and relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, she said. The police are trying to identify the exact spot where the crime was committed, she said. The victim’s medical report is awaited.
Narottam Mishra told reporters that the role of the school administration will also be investigated. “People from the school management will be questioned. I also believe that the school management tried to cover up the matter. After the questioning and investigation, action will also be taken against the school management,” he added.