India school boycotted after rape claim

Parents protest outside the school in Bangalore where a six-year-old student was allegedly raped. Image copyright Press trust of india
Image caption Parents accused the school of being in denial

Indian parents have begun a boycott of a Bangalore school after claims emerged that a six-year-old student had been raped by two staff members.

The parents, who staged a protest on Thursday, have asked the school to step up security for students.

The alleged assault happened on 2 July but her parents discovered it only a few days ago after she complained of stomach ache and was taken to hospital.

Police on Sunday arrested a skating instructor over the alleged attack.

Image caption Police in the Indian city of Bangalore have arrested a skating instructor in connection with the alleged rape

The police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said a mobile phone and laptop containing indecent images of children were recovered from the suspect.

As news of the incident became public, hundreds of parents gathered outside the school on Thursday.

Now the parents say they will stop sending their children to the school until they have assurances about better security for the students.

"We have told the management that we do not think it is safe to send our children to school until it concedes our demands on the security of our children in writing," one parent, Anita Makharia, told BBC Hindi.

Another parent , Mayank Kumar, who sends both his daughters to the school, said: "Right from the beginning, the school has been in a denial mode.

"First, when the police reached the school, they said, it was a case of theft. Then, we got to know about the incident from the newspapers that it was rape."

Pradeep Anand said parents were not willing to send their children to school "until the management restores the confidence that the students will be safe during their time there".

School chairman Rustom Kerawala has offered his "sincere apologies" to the parents and promised "full co-operation" with the police investigation.

Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.

The crime sparked outrage and forced the government to introduce tougher anti-rape laws, including the death penalty.

But the law appears to have failed to act as a deterrent. Statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau for 2013 show one rape was reported every 21 minutes.