Boarding school director in India held on rape charges, allegedly lured girls with promise of free education

NEW DELHI (BERNAMA) - Police in western India have arrested a boarding school director on charges of raping five young girls in another case of horrific abuse of children in the country.

The 61-year-old man used his 40-year-old female associate to lure poor girls with the promise of free food and education at the residential school for tribal students in Maharashtra state's Sangli district, Indian media reported on Wednesday.

The victims, aged between 14 and 20 years, told police they were sexually assaulted over a period of two years.

"The director of the school and his aide have been apprehended by the police in connection with rape and molestation," assistant police inspector Vivek Patil was quoted as saying in a report.

Women and children belonging to poor sections of society are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse in India as law enforcement is weak and the conviction rate remains low.

Police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in August rescued 30 women from a shelter home in the Deoria district after a young girl escaped and reported about the widespread abuse of inmates kept in slave-like conditions.

In July, a man running a state-funded shelter in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar state was arrested after it came to light that dozens of girls, many aged between 7 and 14 years, were raped, tortured, starved and drugged.

 

The Indian government in April this year approved the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12 after an outcry over gruesome rape cases.