Gauhati HC suo moto takes up sexual abuse case of 21 schoolchildren by hostel warden in Arunachaltext_fields
Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Friday ordered to process the cancellation of bail granted to a man accused of raping and sexually abusing 21 schoolchildren aged 6 to 12 years, including six boys in Arunachal Pradesh.
Yumken Bagra, 33, the hostel warden of the Government-run residential school at Karo Village, Monigong, Shi Yomi District, is out on bail which was granted by the special POCSO court after being arrested in the State’s capital Itanagar in November 2022.
The High Court had on Thursday taken up the case suo-motu. Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta’s bench registered the suo moto case of cancellation of bail application on the basis of media reports.
The Special Investigating Team of the Arunachal Pradesh police filed a chargesheet against the accused a few days ago and said it would appeal to the judiciary for the initiation of a trial against him, reported The Hindu.
According to the reports, the medical reports of most of the victims revealed marks of violence on their private parts, which corroborates the fact that they were sexually assaulted.
The chargesheet containing brief references to the statements of the victims revealed that the accused forced the children staying in the hostel to watch pornographic movies and repeatedly subjected them to sexual assault.
The perusal of the bail order of February 23 revealed that the special POCSO court acted in gross disregard to the mandatory provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), it said, and asked the Arunachal Advocate General to instruct the Director General of Police to put in place full security measures for all victims and their family members.
"Absolutely flimsy reasons were assigned by the special court for granting bail to the accused, who being the Hostel Warden, was entrusted with the duty of ensuring the safety of the children lodged in the Hostel but acted in a demonic manner and sexually assaulted the young children over a period of almost 3 years and also exposed them to pornographic material. The trial of an accused charge-sheeted for such serious offences need not wait for the apprehension of the absconding accused and proceedings can even be continued by separating the trials,” the HC order said.
The High Court further said that “there is an emergent need of sensitising the special judges posted in the POCSO courts” in view of the “tenor of the order” passed in Bagra’s case.
“Thus, the Director, Judicial Academy, Assam shall forthwith initiate the process for training and sensitising of all judicial officers dealing with POCSO Act cases in the States of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh,” the High Court order read.
The High Court has listed the case for hearing on July 27.