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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Only lady staffers at girls’ hostels

Raipur, Jan. 8: The shocking case of sexual assault on 11 tribal residential students by male staffers in a Chhattisgarh village has spurred the state government to employ only women at girls’ hostels.

Top bureaucrats of the state government today issued instructions to district collectors and superintendents of police of all the 27 districts on recruitment of all-female staff at girls’ hostels and residential schools.

The women-only posting will be teamed up with regular police patrolling for security, the state has proposed.

The posting of teacher Mannuram Gota (24) and watchman Deenaram (23) — currently under arrest for allegedly raping 11 minor girls at Kanker district’s Jhaliamari village girl’s school-cum-hostel with 43 students — has raised uncomfortable questions on how two young men enjoyed free access inside the cradle at all hours.

“This angle will be covered in the high-level probe ordered by the government,” a senior official in the woman and child welfare department, which lodged the FIR against the duo on the order of district collector Alarmel Mangai D., said.

A police officer in the probe team said though a lady, Babita Markam, was the hostel superintendent, Gota and Deenaram meddled in every matter of the school and enjoyed free access to the hostel where the girls stayed.

“Ostensibly, they slept outside the building. In reality, they moved inside the hostel at night to commit the crime,” the police officer added.

Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress Committee president Nandkumar Patel today demanded the dismissal of the BJP government in the state for failing to safeguard minor girls. The Congress-sponsored Kanker bandh got huge support from the people.