Sexual Assault
MLC Lakshminarayana MD suggested that competitors could be encouraging complaints by parents to ruin a school’s reputation.

The alleged sexual assault of a three-and-a-half-year-child by a non-teaching staff member at a Bengaluru playschool reached the Legislative Council on Friday, with an MLC questioning the government on the veracity of complaints against playschools.

MLC Lakshminarayana MD questioned the ruling party on what mechanisms exist to protect playschools from false complaints filed against them by parents. He also suggested that competitors could be encouraging such actions to ruin a school’s reputation.

While Lakshminarayana did not mention any particular school in his question, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Tanveer Sait said, “The member is talking about the Bengaluru playschool incident. He is suggesting that the investigation has resulted in negative reports and complaints were filed only to malign the school’s reputation by competitors. The inquiry report has not yet reached the government, I cannot comment along those lines.”

Speaking to mediapersons later, Sait said that the preliminary report filed by the House Committee revealed that the playschool in question was not registered with the Karnataka government.

“The report revealed that none of their franchises in Karnataka were registered. Previously, notices were issued to 602 branches of the franchise and despite repeated notices, they have not furnished proof of registration. The school has been sealed, but the promoters of the playschool have obtained a stay over the closure now,” Sait added.

On February 17, the parents of a three-and-a-half-year-old child attending the playschool had filed a sexual assault complaint against a school administrator V Manjunath.

Following this, parents of seven other children came forward and filed complaints against Manjunath and also the owner and prime centre coordinator Dr Veena Ashok, a class teacher named Ayesha and another administrator Preetha.

Parents of children alleged that Manju was present when the children’s clothes were being changed and also entered the washroom with the children.

A total of eight FIRs have been filed till date under relevant sections of POCSO and the IPC.