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NHRC, Maharashtra women panel seek probe as school tells rape victim to leave

The National Human Rights Commission and the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission on Tuesday took serious note of a school reportedly asking a 15-year-old rape victim to leave on grounds that her continuance as student “tarnishes its reputation”.

Terming the incident as “a grave violation” of the victim’s human rights, the NHRC has issued notice to the state government and Defence Secretary, while the MSWC has written to the Latur police and district administration, both seeking a detailed report on the shocking incident.

According to local media reports, the girl was raped last April on the pretext of marriage by a soldier who visited his native village while on vacation, but later abandoned her.

The victim and her family have claimed that the local police harassed her and allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 50,000 for lodging the complaint, and the case was only filed after they approached Latur’s Superintendent of Police Shivajirao Rathod in August.

After police visited the school to make investigations, the girl’s family said she was asked to collect her transfer certificate and leave the school, ostensibly as the school authorities felt it harmed their reputation with repeated police visits to its premises.

The school authorities denied the allegations, claiming that the girl’s family had sought to make her leave the school as she was traumatised by the incident.

MSWC Chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar told media persons here that the Latur police have been directed to submit a detailed status report on the entire matter on top priority and indicated that a team would visit the victim.

Congress legislator from Latur, Amit Vilasrao Deshmukh has offered all help to the victim in her quest for justice.

Police said the soldier is accused of raping the girl sometime in April when he befriended her on the pretext of marriage, when he was on leave from duty, but later broke all contact with her.

Terming the incident as “highly sadistic and unethical”, the NHRC has ordered the Defence Secretary to inform about the departmental action taken against the accused soldier within four weeks.

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