Indian schoolgirls beaten by mob after protesting at being sexually harassed
Girls' education, Safe schools
34 students were taken to hospital after being hit with sticks by boys - and their mothers - outside their government-run boarding school.
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 neighbours – 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, following a series of sexual assaults across the country that has sparked outrage.
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.
Earlier this year in Bihar, more than 30 girls were sexually assaulted and tortured at a shelter in Bihar.
The attack only came to light yesterday because of the delay in filing the case. Ten people, including four women, were arrested, Mrityunjay Kumar Choudhary, Supaul’s police chief, told Reuters.
Harassed while going to school
A survey by Plan International UK has found that more than a third of girls in the UK have received unwanted sexual attention or contact such as being groped, stared at, catcalled and wolf-whistled while wearing their school uniform in public. One in seven girls aged 14 to 21 had been followed while in uniform.
The girls suffered minor injuries and were released from hospital over the weekend.
The boys, aged between 12 and 16, entered a field near the school in the village of Darpakha, about 180 miles from the state capital, Patna, where the girls were playing on Saturday and shouted obscene comments, Choudhary said.
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, Supaul’s district chief, told Reuters. The older women also attacked the girls, he said.
Yesterday the girls returned to school, where authorities have beefed up security, Yadav said.
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.