As per the first information report, the child was sent into a dark room as punishment for misbehaviour, and during that phase of punishment, the school fitness centre instructor and a security guard brutally assaulted the girl. Although the teacher who had punished the child was aware that she was hurt, she tried to conceal the incident by giving first aid. The child who had been getting fever intermittently was later examined medically to confirm that she was sexually assaulted.
As per the Right to compulsory Education Act (RTE) 2009, children cannot be subject to corporal punishment which is a criminal offence. Vasudeva Sharma, director, Child Rights Trust, says, "Threatening a child by itself is an offence and is accounted as corporal punishment as per the RTE Act. In this unfortunate incident, the teacher had sent the child into the dark room as punishment where the child was sexually assaulted by the employees. This is equal to corporal punishment and the teacher is equally accountable for having put the child in a susceptible situation.
Apart from traumatizing the child, even after knowing about the incident the teacher hushed up the evidences hindering investigation." Sharma pointed out that the teacher is also accountable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act 2012 (POCSO) for having subjected the child in a vulnerable situation thus exposing the child to immense danger.
Dr K John Vijay Sagar, Associate Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, said, "Any form of punishment for young children is a very upsetting and traumatic experience for them. Children as old as four or five years may not be able to talk about the punishment and may express so in behaviour like anger or crying. Corporal punishment affects the self esteem of the child, and he or she may develop school refusal behaviour because of an incident or a teacher. When the child has been sexually assaulted, psychological councelling has to be given with constant support."
"Some of indicators for assault are clingy behaviour, withdrawal, anxiety, trauma, inappropriate sexual behaviour by children in extreme cases. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has laid down effective guidelines against corporal punishment," Dr Sagar explained.