Shimla : A hostel in-charge who sexually exploited nine poor tribal girls at Solan in Himachal Pradesh for more than a year has been sent to five days’ police remand.
“The accused Pawan Goel was sent to police remand by a Solan court till Feb 15,” deputy superintendent of police Narbir Singh Rathore told IANS Wednesday.
The hostel is being run by the Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, a national-level voluntary organisation, in Solan town, some 45 km from the state capital.
The victims, mainly from tribal districts of Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand, were students of class VII to X at a government high school in Solan and were staying in the hostel.
Rathore said Goel, 48, was the overall in-charge of the hostel, while his wife, Kiran Goel was the hostel warden. The Goels lived within the hostel complex.
“Kiran was also summoned today (Wednesday) and interrogated. She admitted that her husband molested girls,” he said.
Acting on the complaint of a 13-year-old girl from Kinnaur, police conducted raid on the hostel and arrested Goel Tuesday. The girl is being treated for depression at Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital in Shimla.
“We have recorded the statements of five other girls from Jharkhand and they have also made similar allegations,” the police official said.
Meanwhile, Shyam Manohar, general secretary of the Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, told IANS over the phone from Delhi: “We got to know about the incident this (Wednesday) morning. It’s a sad incident. I am visiting Solan tomorrow (Thursday) to look into the matter.”
He said the Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh gets funds from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and runs 21 such hostels across the country.
A case under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act (dealing with atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) has been registered against Goel.
This was the second such incident in the state in less than a year.
In March last year, three teachers, including a school principal, were arrested in Shimla on charges of sexually exploiting six deaf and dumb children of a school run by an NGO.