Shillong, Aug. 13: Six minor boys were sent to a juvenile home and one person was remanded in police custody for allegedly raping a 10-year-old over several months.
Teachers of a school located on the outskirts of the city, where the girl studies, lodged a complaint at Rynjah police station alleging that a nine-year-old boy had sexual intercourse with her.
During the inquiry, the boy revealed that five other minors, aged 13, 14, 15, and 17, also had sex with the girl. These five boys study in the same school but in different classes.
They were charged under Section 376 IPC (rape) and forwarded to the juvenile justice board, police said.
“We were told that these incidents involving minor boys had happened last year, but were brought to light only recently when the girl reported the matter to her teacher. We were further informed that the girl’s stepfather had also raped her,” a senior police official from East Khasi Hills district said.
The official added that the girl’s stepfather has been arrested and remanded in five days’ police custody.
Following the report, members of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women met here this afternoon and decided to write to the state government to adopt immediate measures.
Commission chairperson Theilin Phanbuh said a letter had been sent to chief secretary W.M.S. Pariat demanding that the state administration ask Internet service providers to block pornographic websites, hitherto easily available through mobile phone or computers.
The commission, perhaps, viewed that the “influx of ideas” through facilities like Internet on mobile phones was influencing juvenile and impressionable minds, leading them to such appallingly bizarre acts.
At the same time, Phanbuh said the government had been urged to issue an order banning using of mobile phones in schools.
Speaking to this correspondent, Phanbuh said such incidents were an offshoot of the decline in societal and family values. “We have to admit that the institution of marriage here is feeble. We have a law on the compulsory registration of marriages, which can go along way in curbing broken families. However, although the rules have been framed, the law is yet to be implemented,” she added.
Fr Richard Majaw, principal of St Dominic Savio School in the city, said there were several factors which were leading children to commit such crimes.
“Apart from the decline in family values, I feel that we elders have failed to be exemplary to young minds,” Fr Majaw said.
He also said in contemporary times, children have been gaining access to all kinds of information through the Internet and other forms of media. “But they are getting access to such information when their feeble minds are unprepared to make sense of what is healthy and what is not,” he added.
Giving an example of his school, Fr Majaw said students are never allowed to carry any gadgets, including mobile phones, to their classrooms. If anyone is found with a gadget, he or she is usually placed under suspension for a couple of days.
Childline coordinator Iba Synrem said “peer pressure” was a factor influencing young minds.
“We cannot simply put the blame on parents as peer pressure is tremendous. How far can children resist when they are faced with such pressure?” Synrem asked.
She said Childline had received complaints from parents whose children have fled home saying they left simply because they were not provided with mobile phones.