In December 2020, Laxmidevpally police registered a case against the 40-year-old headmaster for raping five girls aged between seven and 11 years inside the school premises multiple times since August 2020.
The incident came to light after a seven-year-old girl, studying class II, took ill and was hospitalised. While undergoing treatment the girl told her mother about her ordeal, Laxmidevpally SI Anjaiah said after registering the case.
During the investigation, police found out that despite knowing about the headmaster’s despicable acts, some of the neighbouring school teachers did not report the matter to law enforcement agencies. “We have booked eight persons, including a mandal-level official, under section 21(1) of POCSO Act for failing to report about the incident to law enforcement agencies,” said a police official. If convicted under section 21(1) of the POCSO Act, the accused may have to undergo up to six months imprisonment or pay fine.
Bhadradri Kothagudem district SP Sunil Dutt told TOI that the trial will commence on a fast-track basis once a special court for POCSO cases in Kothagudem starts functioning from March 8.
On February 18, police filed a chargesheet in the case. The main accused is currently in judicial remand.
Meanwhile, the women and child welfare department has extended Rs 25,000 compensation to each girl’s family, while the tribal welfare department officials sanctioned Rs 1.25 lakh worth loan to procure cattle for each family. The girls were given admissions in gurukul schools in nearby towns.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)