Head tried to sell pupils for vice trade

22nd June 2001 at 01:00
A headteacher has been charged with abducting six of his pupils, including his own daughter, and trying to sell them into the sex trade.

The girls, minors aged between nine and 12, were rescued by the police after alarmed parents reported that their children had not come home from school.

The incident sparked a wave of protests across the country and Ravinder Kumar, principal of the Sishu Shiksha Niketan school in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, has been released on bail pending an inquiry.

He told the six girls he was taking them on a field trip but took them by taxi to Bareilly en route to Nepal, where he and his two accomplices planned to sell them for pound;3,000 each. The terrified girls started crying when the police team confronted the principal, saying that they did not want their tacher arrested.

Unrepentant, Mr Kumar said he would have sold the girls off had it not been for the tip-off to the police. When questioned about her father's behaviour, his daughter Kiran shrugged and said: "Let everyone know the truth."

Distraught parents blame the government's apathy for the situation. There is no government school in the vicinity and Mr Kumar's Sishu Shiksha Niketan school was the only one in the district. Parents fear that other children could be molested or abducted and may not be rescued in time.

The state education minister has said that a high-level inquiry will be conducted into the school's affairs and action will be taken.

Meanwhile, police are questioning Mr Kumar's accomplices, fearing that the case may be the tip of the iceberg.

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