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Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was gearing up to draw political mileage out of resentment brewing against Congress over Delhi gang rape incident, a sensational incident in Chhattisgarh had put it in the back foot.
In a sleepy block headquarters of Narharpur in Kanker district, 11 minor tribal girls have come forward to report alleged rape committed by the teacher and watchman of the government-run residential school where they were staying. The incident had drawn widespread protest against the BJP government.
The girls are reported to be in the age group of 10 to 13 years. The matter came to the fore when parent of one of the girls reported the incident to the District Collector Alarmel Mangai D, who constituted a team and probe the complaint. The team was surprised to note the findings as it shunned the entire state.
The Shiksha Karmi (contact teacher), Mannuram Gota (24) and Deenaram (23), the watchman, were sexually exploiting the girls for the last two years. The girls brought the matter to the notice of hostel authorities. But they covered it up fearing it would make a big issue.
Following the complaint lodged by the child and women welfare department, the Kanker police on Sunday evening arrested Gota and Deenaram. An offence under section 376 and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been slapped against them. Having gone on defensive over the sensational incident, the state government swung into action. The hostel superintendent, Babita Markam and Block Education Officer S S Nawarji were placed under suspension Monday for concealing the information.
Chief Minister Raman Singh condemned the incident and said the guilt persons would face strict action. He had ordered a high level probe into the matter and asked the district authorities to submit a detailed report.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress had constituted a five member committee that visited the place on Monday to probe the incident. The Congress party had planned to take up the issue in a big way.