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VASCO DA GAMA, India: Thousands protested in the holiday state of Goa yesterday after a seven-year-old girl was raped in a school toilet, sparking fresh outrage in India following a deadly gang-rape on a bus.
Crowds began gathering outside the Deepvihar High School in the city of Vasco da Gama on Monday night after news of the attack emerged, prompting police to arrest the headmistress on charges of neglect as well as appeal for calm. A massive manhunt has been launched to trace the attacker, thought to be in his early 20s, who managed to get into the premises despite security guards posted at the school gate.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the youngster was raped after being dragged inside the toilet situated next to the headmistress’s office during a break in classes.
Police were alerted after the girl complained of pain and was given a medical examination.
The girl was taken to hospital and has since been discharged, a charity worker accompanying her said. “She is fine now and recuperating at home,” she said.
The victim’s identity has been protected in line with the law.
Thousands of people surrounded the school on Monday night, shouting to demand the arrest of the headmistress and the perpetrator.
Demonstrations then spread to other parts of the city yesterday, with shops and businesses closing in protest. Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar visited the spot to try and calm the tense gathering.
“We will not spare the accused and anyone involved in this crime,” he told the crowds, after which the headmistress was detained. She was later arrested for alleged negligence of duty, the police official said.
The case has been transferred from local police to the state crime branch, which has taken up the help of a teacher to draw a sketch of the accused, seen loitering in the school compound.
The attack comes after the gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi last month sparked nationwide protests and fuelled anger across India over the alarming incidence of sexual assault.