Sexual abuse of 21 students in Arunachal: Gauhati HC takes up case suo moto

Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta’s bench registered the suo moto case of cancellation of bail application

Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Friday has taken up, suo-moto, a case of sexual abuse of 21 students, aged 6 to 12 years, by the hostel warden of a residential school in Arunachal Pradesh.

Yumken Bagra, the hostel warden of the Government residential school at Karo Village, Monigong, Shi Yomi District, is out on bail, granted by the special POCSO court.

Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta’s bench registered the suo moto case of cancellation of bail application on the basis of media reports.

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Bagra is alleged to have sexually assaulted 21 children (15 girls and 6 boys), aged 6 to 12 years between 2019 to 2022, and this Court has been compelled to register this suo moto cancellation of bail application, the court order said.

It said that the medical reports of most of the victims corroborates the fact that they were sexually assaulted as marks of violence were noticed on their private parts.

However, perusal of the bail order of February 23 revealed that the special POCSO court acted in gross disregard to this 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 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 Chief Justice in his order also said that considering the tenor of the order passed by the special judge, this Court feels that there is an emergent need of sensitising the Special Judges posted in the POCSO Courts in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Assam.

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 four states, he added.

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