Thane: Bus attendant molests Std 2 kids returning from picnic

Orhan Wadia
Orhan Wadia  - Editor
5 Min Read

The Kapurbawadi police have apprehended a 27-year-old private bus attendant in connection with the alleged sexual assault of approximately eight girls studying in Grade 2 at a prominent international school in Thane. The incident occurred during the return journey to Thane after a school-organized picnic.

Upon the revelation of the incident, concerned parents convened at the school premises, urging the suspension of management staff, including the CEO, principal, and school teachers. Parents argue that the school arranged the picnic through a third party without their consent. To voice their discontent, parents assembled at the school at 7.30 am today, protesting against the management and calling for the suspension of individuals responsible for the children’s well-being during the trip.

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According to the police report, a group of Grade 2 students went on a day picnic to Kidzania, Ghatkopar, on February 20. The school had coordinated the excursion through Adventure Education Tours. A police officer stated, “The incident occurred during the return to Thane, with 40 students on the bus, all aged between 7 and 8 years. The girls alleged that, under the pretext of offering sweets and food, the bus attendant sexually assaulted them.”

Parents’ Accounts

One of the complainants, who filed a case at the Kapurbawadi police station, narrated, “On Wednesday around 4 pm, I reached the school, and my daughter was visibly upset. Upon questioning her, she disclosed the details of the sexual assault. Three teachers were supposedly sitting in the front seat, along with a female attendant who was sleeping at the front of the bus. The perpetrator committed the crime on the back seat, and the teachers didn’t intervene.”

The complainant emphasized that approximately eight children had reported the assault. “We approached the management and principal, but they denied any wrongdoing. Failing to receive a satisfactory response, we approached the police, staying at the station until 2 am to ensure the case was registered,” the complainant added.

The police visited the complainant’s house on Wednesday, recording her daughter’s statement. “It was embarrassing as she kept asking why it happened to her. She is just 7 years old and can’t comprehend what truly occurred,” the parent lamented.

School’s Response

Following Wednesday’s protests, the school canceled other organized trips and initiated an internal committee to investigate the incident. The three teachers present on the bus during the incident have been terminated pending the completion of the inquiry. Local political leaders joined the protest, demanding the suspension of those found negligent.

The school principal addressed the media, stating, “We acknowledge this unfortunate incident and are cooperating with the police. The children did not inform the teachers during the incident but shared details with their parents later. We were only informed after a late-night email was sent to us.”

The principal clarified that this was not the first time a picnic was organized through Adventure Education Tours, with a long-standing memorandum of understanding. An internal committee has been formed to investigate the incident, and appropriate action will be taken based on the findings.

The accused, identified as Javed Mohammed Khan, 27, and a resident of Goregaon, has been booked under Sections 354, 354(a), and 509 of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act, 2012. Khan has been remanded to police custody after being produced in court.

Amar Singh Jadhav, deputy commissioner of police, Zone V, commented, “We have registered a case and have arrested the accused. Further investigation is underway.”

The school principal emphasized that the safety and well-being of the students are paramount, and the institution is committed to a thorough inquiry.

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