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NEW DELHI: In yet another horrific incident of sexual harassment in Bihar, goons thrashed more than 30 schoolgirls after they resisted sexual advances. The girls are students of a government school in Supaul district.
Thirty-four Indian schoolgirls aged between 12 and 16 were taken to hospital after being beaten with sticks by a group of boys, along with the boys’ mothers and neighbors, who had harassed them earlier in the day, authorities said.
The assault happened on Saturday outside a government-run boarding school in the eastern state of Bihar, police told Reuters, following a series of sexual assaults across the country that has sparked outrage.
“The girls were playing inside the school compound when some boys came in and tried to sexually harass them. The girls fought them off and there was an altercation. A mob then gathered with the boys’ parents who beat up the girls,” Jagatpati Chaudhury, the District Education Officer in Supaul, told Al Jazeera.
The boys left after the girls protested, only to return later with a group of around 20 people armed with sticks.
“The boys brought their mothers and others from the neighbourhood,” Baidyanath Yadav, the district chief, told Reuters. The older women also attacked the girls, he said.
The girls returned to school, where authorities have beefed up security, on Monday, Yadav said.
India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts on women’s issues released in June.
This comes at a time when the Nitish Kumar government is facing criticism for the law and order situation in the state and its laxity in acting against crime against women.
Saturday’s attack only came to light on Monday because of the delay in filing the case. Ten people, including four women, were arrested, Mrityunjay Kumar Choudhary, Supaul district’s police chief, told Reuters.
The girls suffered minor injuries and were released from the hospital over the weekend.
Opposition leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav took to Twitter to target Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, accusing him of maintaining a “cunning silence” on the violence.