INDORE: A 56-year-old subdivisional magistrate (SDM) posted in MP’s
district was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly sexually harassing tribal minors at a state-run girls’ hostel during a ‘surprise inspection’.
The accused, Sunil Kumar Jha, has been suspended and is now in jail. “Based on the complaint received against the official from the principal of the government hostel, a case under IPC section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), Pocso Act and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been registered against him,” said Jhabua SP Agam Jain said.
Jha is accused of committing obscene acts with three girls, aged 13 and 11, during the inspection, he said. Jain said they received a complaint from the principal that SDM Jha arrived at the hostel at 3:30 pm on Sunday for a surprise inspection and asked her to remain outside the rooms while he went in to speak with the girls.
The children said that the official first asked them questions about their diet and if they were getting breakfast and lunch properly. He then sat on their bed, touched them inappropriately and asked questions that made them uneasy, including about their periods. He also allegedly hugged them and groped one of the girls.
Police lodged an FIR immediately. Indore divisional commissioner Dr Pawan Sharma said that Jha, who has the rank of deputy collector, has been suspended as he “behaved obscenely and inappropriately with girl students” during inspection at the government hostel. “It shows gross negligence and indiscipline by Jha in discharge of his official duties,” he said. Around noon, Jha was arrested and sent to judicial custody.
The officer is accused of committing obscene acts with three girls, aged 13 and 11, during a ‘surprise inspection’ of a state-run girls’ hostel.
(The victims’ identity has not been revealed to protect their privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)