Gangtok, Sept. 30: A 54-year-old schoolteacher was arrested by Singtam police yesterday for allegedly molesting and physically assaulting 14-year-old girl.
Sources said the incident happened five days ago and the primary schoolteacher from east Sikkim was picked up following a complaint lodged by the girl’s grandfather yesterday.
The accused teacher, D.K. Bhattarai, was produced in the judicial magistrate’s court in Gangtok today and remanded in police custody for five days.
The inspector-in-charge of Singtam police station, Chundi Choppel, said the girl, a Class IV student, has told the police that Bhattarai had been molesting her for the past one year.
The teacher, whose house is hardly 500m away, used to visit the girl often and her grandparents never suspect anything.
The child has been staying with her grandparents, both of whom are farmers, for the past six years.
A police source said: “The girl did not talk to anyone about it out of fear. On Wednesday, when the girl’s grandmother came home, she saw the man beating up the child and molesting her. She raised the alarm and local people rushed to their house.”
“The girl’s grandparents did not have any idea about how to lodge a police complaint. Their neighbours asked them to file a complaint after which they came to us yesterday,” he added.
The police have registered a case under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 445 (trespassing) and 351 (assault) against the teacher.
All the sections are non-bailable.
“The victim was taken for a medical examination at the district hospital in Singtam. The report is awaited and we would only be able to comment further once the report comes,” Choppel said.
The Sikkim Commission for Protection of Child Rights has condemned the “ghastly shameful act”.
“The commission is holding various awareness programs across the state and this incident is very unfortunate. We hope the victim gets justice,” said the chairperson of the commission, Manita Pradhan.
In a similar incident in east Sikkim last month, a schoolteacher was arrested for allegedly molesting a Class IX girl.
“The accused person (Bhattarai) is a grandfather himself and this is a very shameful incident,” said a social activist from Gangtok, D.K. Lepcha.