Kids recall trauma after seeing playschool supervisor on TV

It was after watching the news about sexual harassment that a male student of the Bellandur playschool revealed about the suspect Manjunath.

The two-and-a-half-year-old is among the eight children who were sexually assaulted at the playschool. When the photo of the accused appeared on a television channel, the child told the mother, “He is a bad boy.” The child’s mother was part of the delegation of parents who met MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday. “We were surprised. However, having heard about the previous incident, we wanted to question him,” said the mother.

The child repeatedly told the mother that ‘Manju Bhaiyya’ hurt him. “He told me that Manju Bhaiyya would hug him and kiss him. I asked him how that could be bad when I too gave him hugs and kisses everyday. It was then that he revealed that he had touched him inappropriately.” The child told his parents that Manjunath would take him to the activity area and “hurt” him.

“He wears diapers. He does not even need to be cleaned often. What was the need for the attender to take him to the activity area or the toilet on the pretext of helping him?” questioned the mother.

When the child several times earlier complained of pain in his private parts, the mother least suspected sexual assault. “We took him to the doctor as well. The paediatrician said that it could happen to children of that age if they were constipated.’’ Even a few months ago, when the child had joined school, parents wished to see him on the CCTV. The school refused to grant permission, according to the mother. Manjunath was in charge of managing the CCTV footage as well.

Another three-and-a-half-year-old also revealed the assault after seeing Manjunath’s photograph. “Manjunath Bhaiyya.. Pareshaan... Bathroom..” were the words of a trembling girl child on seeing Manjunath’s picture.

The mother then took a cue. “My child refused to go to school for a few weeks. I had a word with the class teacher and attendants too asking if any incident had triggered fear. I was told that they had started teaching them to write and hence, the child could have felt uneasy,” she said.

Among a few other concerns that parents voiced were that the police would come home in uniforms due to which the children were unable to open up. They want the school management and principal to be held just as responsible as Manjunath and be booked under the Pocso Act. “We thought that we were sending our child to a ‘branded’ playschool. Little did we know what was happening behind our backs,” said a parent. Assuring them of support, Chandrasekhar said the parents must not withdraw the case.
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