The Madhya Pradesh Police on Friday said it has detained a school van conductor in Bhopal for allegedly molesting a three-year-old girl the day before, PTI reported. The police are verifying the conductor’s age after he claimed to be 17 years old, said Inspector Baljeet Singh.
He has been charged under an amended provision of the Indian Penal Code that deals with punishment for rape of girls under the age of 12, and other provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The alleged incident took place in Ayodhya Nagar when the girl was returning home in the afternoon. “The accused sat down next to the victim and started touching her inappropriately,” Singh told the Hindustan Times. “The victim kept quiet at that time, but told her mother about the incident when she reached home.” There were other children in the van at the time.
That night her parents approached the police and lodged a complaint. The girl’s mother said a caretaker picks up and drops the minor home everyday, reported The Times of India. But the caretaker said she was not aware of the alleged incident.
The 14-seater vehicle was hired by the school management, said headmistress Bhawna Shrivastava. A replacement was sent to look after the children on Thursday as the regular caretaker was on leave. Shrivastava said necessary action would be soon taken against the transport company.
In December, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly unanimously passed a bill that awards death penalty to rapists who assault minors aged 12 or below. A National Crime Records Bureau report has revealed that the state recorded the highest number of rape cases in 2016. Of the total 38,947 such cases reported in the country, Madhya Pradesh alone accounted for 4,882 cases.