One more teacher held for sexually exploiting handicapped children

March 19th, 2009 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, March 19 (IANS) One more teacher was arrested Thursday on charges of sexually exploiting six girls of a rehabilitation centre for the deaf, dumb and mentally challenged being run by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) on the outskirts of this Himachal Pradesh capital, the police said.
Three teachers, including the school principal, were arrested Wednesday evening for allegedly raping and sexually abusing the girls, who are aged between 13 and 21 years.

The school has more than 25 special students and is getting grants under the state-sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme.

“The fourth accused was arrested this (Thursday) noon from Sarkaghat in Mandi district. Now, all the accused have been arrested,” superintendent of police R.M. Sharma told IANS.

The accused included school principal Vijay Kumar. They have been booked under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, and were to be produced before a local court Thursday.

Sharma said the police raided the school run by the NGO, Prerna Welfare Association, on a tip-off that the girls were being sexually abused by the school staff.

“The victims neither complained to the owner of the rehabilitation centre nor to their parents. When we went to the centre, all the six girls complained that they were being physically exploited for more than an year,” he said, adding the hearing and speech impaired girls complained through sign language.

Five of the six victims are hearing and speech impaired and one is mentally challenged. They belong to financially weak families.

“It’s a blot on the face of society. Surprisingly, the government is mum on the issue. Most of the teachers in such institutes are not even registered with the Rehabilitation Council of India, which is mandatory under the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992,” said Ajai Srivastava of the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, a Shimla-based NGO.

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