Private school in Dehradun refuses admission to minor rape survivor

According to the Hindustan Times report, a private school in Dehradun denied admission to a 16-year-old girl because four students from her former boarding school in the same city had raped her. The family’s lawyer Aruna Negi Chauhan has demanded that the school’s Central Board of Secondary Education certification be cancelled on Friday.
Advocate Aruna Negi Chauhan wrote a letter on behalf of the girl’s parents to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Education Minister Arvind Pandey urging them to take “strict legal action” against the institution. She added that while many private schools in the city had refused the teenager admission without giving any explanation, the school in question explicitly told her parents that they could not enroll a rape survivor.

“The girl was finally given admission in a school in another city,” Chauhan said, according to The Indian Express.
“The biggest question is that how did the school get to know the child was raped. By law, her identity has to be protected. We want the police to investigate who is behind this.”
Chauhan demanded that the CBSE cancel the school’s affiliation, but the board’s regional director Ranveer Singh claimed it was an institution’s prerogative whether to grant or deny admission. A senior police officer claimed that the girl is weak in studies, but added that the denial of admission is being investigated.

As per the complaint, the girl’s parents approached a couple of schools but she was denied admission, Senior Superintendent of Police Nivedita Kukreti said.

One of the schools allegedly denied her admission on the ground that enrolling her will spoil the atmosphere on campus, she said.

“We are looking into the complaint. We will send a team to the school concerned to take its version on Monday as it closed for puja holidays. Meanwhile, we are also exploring the legal course of action to be taken in a case like this,” Kukreti said. Appropriate action will be taken against the school if the charges against it are found to be true, she added.  Former chairman of Uttarakhand Commission for Protection of Child Rights Yogendra Khanduri termed the treatment meted out to the girl as “unfortunate”.

“How can they deny admission to the child? If the girl has merit, there is no reason why they should refuse to take her in,” he told PTI. “They should give her admission even on humanitarian ground as she is a rape survivor who has suffered trauma,” he said.

The girl had been allegedly raped by four students from her former boarding school on August 14. However, the school administrative officers were informed about the girl’s situation. Rather than informing the police about the incident, the school authorities tried to hush up the situation. They threatened the girl that she would be expelled from the school if she discloses about the rape to her parents or to her sister who was studying in the same school.
According to the lawyer, one of the school officials, who was later arrested conducted a pregnancy test on the girl inside the school premises and confirmed the pregnancy to her. “It was after that they brought her to a clinic to carry out abortion,” said the lawyer in the court. Reportedly, the school administrative officer’s wife gave the victim “home remedies” to terminate the pregnancy worsening the child’s health. The matter came to light in September, when the girl thought she was pregnant and informed her elder sister, following which Dehradun’s senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nivedita Kukreti was tipped off. On September 18, the accused were produced before a juvenile court.

The school’s director, principal, administration officer, his wife, and the hostel caretaker were also arrested and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for allegedly destroying evidence related to the crime. On September 19, six people, including an adult student, were sent to judicial custody.

The CBSE had discontinued the school’s affiliation as its response to a show cause notice was “evasive and insensitive”, according to reports.

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