9 held for beating up 36 Bihar schoolgirls who resisted sexual harassment

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ine people, mostly teenagers, have been arrested in Bihar Supaul district for allegedly assaulting at least 36 girls on Saturday after they resisted sexual harassment, news agency ANI reported on Monday.

“… [We have] asked for matric certificates from others. [We] want to identify the rest [as we] don’t want any innocent to get caught,” Triveniganj’s assistant superintendent of police was quoted as saying by ANI.

The girls were mercilessly beaten up by a mob after they fought off a group of local boys who tried to sexually harass them. The mob had broken into their residential school in Triveniganj, Saupaul district – 250 km from state capital Patna.

An official said parents of the boys were part of the mob that attacked the girls when they were playing in a ground close to their residential school.

Police had earlier arrested three people and today detained the six others – all of whom were named in a complaint filed. Most of those detained were minors and officials said that they were verifying their age.

The girls – all of them 12 to 16 years old – were admitted to a local hospital and 26 of them have now been released, the police said.

The incident was triggered on Saturday by a clash between the girls and local boys.

Some of the girls had caught a group of boys sneaking into the Kasturba Residential School, a government institution for girls, and asked them to leave. But when the boys refused and misbehaved, the girls beat them up in self defence, said one of the eyewitnesses at the school.

After nearly two hours, around 5 pm, the boys returned with their parents and relatives and barged into the school, the police said, quoting one of the students.

The mob surrounded the campus and targeted the frightened girls and their teachers. Locals said the school had no security system or guards, a report in NDTV said.

In a complaint to the police, the school principal said despite requests to remain calm, the mob beat up the students and teachers.

After the attack, opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav condemned the government in strongest terms. In a series of tweets, Tejashwi Yadav said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has “totally surrendered himself in the hands of goons & Deputy CM is begging mercy to hardened criminals”.