At least five students of a residential school in Haryana’s Rohtak alleged they were physically and sexually abused by their seniors and some staff members over several months, reported the Hindustan Times. The children, all students of Classes 5 and 6, are residents of Ladhot village.

The incident came to light when the children met their family members on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan on Sunday. They told their families they were sodomised and beaten up on several occasions and warned against speaking up.

The parents then filed a police complaint and the children were sent for a medical examination. The accused were charged under Sections 202 (hiding information), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 (crime committed by many with same intention), and 377 (unnatural offences) of the Indian Penal Code besides Section 4 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, said Rohtak Sadar police station in-charge Manjeet Kumar.

“A case has been registered on the basis of one complaint that contained statements of five students studying in Classes 5 and 6,” said Kumar. “It is registered against some senior students and staff members of the gurukul [school].” A police investigation into the matter is also on.

The district child welfare committee said it would counsel the victims and also find out if any more students were sexually abused. “The CWC will provide free legal aid to the victims and get constant follow-ups from the police officials in this case,” Chairperson Raj Singh Sangwan said.

Sangwan added that after visiting the school on Monday, the team will issue a notice to the management and seek a detailed response on the allegations.

However, the school’s dean alleged that the students’ claims were fabricated. “Sometimes children adopt such tactics so that they can escape from here,” India Today quoted Dean Haridutt as saying. “Only police can find the truth after an investigation.”