The Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights is set to launch a probe into the alleged sexual harassment of two male students at the Lalaji Memorial Omega International School in Chennai. This decision comes after the parents' complained that the police are not handling the case satisfactorily.
TNM had earlier reported on the parents' letter to the Deputy General of Police, where they alleged that the police was attempting to derail the case. Investigating officials allegedly claimed that the children were making up stories after being exposed to pornographic videos by parents. In addition to this, the complainants said that the local politician was threatening other parents from coming out in support of them, at the school's behest.
Speaking to TNM, the Commission's chairperson MP Nirmala, IAS (Rtd) confirmed that a fact-finding team will be looking into the case.
"The parents came and met us on Thursday. The Commission is going to look into the matter. We are launching a fact-finding team to see what violations have been committed," she said. "There is a list of allegations, but we need to independently verify it ourselves before notifying the government," she added.
The complainants, however, told TNM that meeting the chairperson has given them confidence.
"The local police, politicians and the school management are all working hand in hand to dilute this case. We are confident that the commission will get to the bottom of this," said Girija*, a complainant and mother of a survivor.
"The process of investigation itself was done in a manner to harass the children further. What’s more, we can't allow this case to stretch on for years. We want justice for children but at the same time, the police can't keep asking them to recall their trauma over and over again," she added.
The parents of two male children, aged and three-and-a-half and four years, had approached the Poonamallee All Women's police station in July, alleging that their children were sexually abused by the school's employees. In their complaint, the parents had initially accused the cleaner of the bus the children travelled of sexually abusing them. Based on their complaint, Bhaskar and Indira, attendants in the bus the children travelled in, were arrested. They were, however, let out on conditional bail shortly after being apprehended.
While parents claim that the more members of the school staff are involved in the case, the police dismissed the claim. They further said that there was no pressure from the school management in the investigation of the case.