India: 93 schoolgirls sexually harassed aboard Patna train

25th Nov 2013

A group of 93 schoolgirls travelling on a train from Patna to Dhanbad were sexually harassed for more than four hours in the wee hours of Sunday.

The students along with three women teachers from Carmel School in Dhanbad and Digwadih in Jharkhand were returning after participating in a two-day environmental camp in Patna.

Around 10pm on Saturday, the girls and the teachers reached Patna railway station to find that their reserved seats in the Ganga Damodar Express had been occupied by a large group of men claiming to be examinees of the railway recruitment exam.

The group approached the railway police, but the cops just asked them to enter the compartment and said the men would vacate the seats on their own.

The men, however, refused to vacate the seats.

After the train left Patna junction around 11.40pm, the men began harassing and molesting the girls.

When the teachers protested, the men assaulted them. No co-passenger or train staff came to their rescue.

The ordeal lasted until the men got down at Koderma station four hours later.

After the girls got down at Dhanbad railway station, they could be seen crying and narrating the incident to their parents who had come to pick them up.

“It was a nightmare. I never want to travel in trains again,” a Class-9 girl told Hindustan Times.

“Those men had grabbed all our seats and began harassing us. When our teachers protested, they slapped and assaulted them. We travelled the whole way standing and huddled together in queues, as the men kept on pulling us.”

However, a police complaint will only be lodged on Monday, said one of the teachers travelling with the girls.

“The students are very tired and traumatised, and need rest. So, we have decided to lodge a police complaint tomorrow,” said Sonali Singh, a teacher at Carmel School, Dhanbad.

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