<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), which will question 105 tribal girl students studying at the tribal school in Hivarkheda village in Buldhana district, where 12 teenagers were allegedly raped by school staffers.On Saturday, the local police arrested 17 people from the school. As per the FIR, the accused are charged under IPC Sections 376 (2) (f,i,n), 109 , 2 (N and F), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and the SC and ST Atrocity Act.An investigating officer said that six girls have so far complained about sexual assault. While two of them admitted to being raped, four others admitted to being sexually molested. “If more girls complain of sexual abuse, their medial examination will be conducted and more complaints will be registered,” he said.DNA has obtained a copy of the FIR, which says that the girls were raped multiple times by the accused. The accused allegedly raped them at knifepoint and threatened to kill them if they resisted.Sources said that the main accused, Etusingh Pawar, used to persuade tribal students to join the school. Sources said that he was doing this, so that the school trust could avail of grants and other benefits. Pawar’s job, they said, was to roam around the remote tribal areas and get students for the school. This year, he enrolled 50 students and was given the temporary assistant’s post in return. School authorities also assured Pawar that he would be made permanent if he continued to enroll more students.The SIT is being led by Arati Singh, Superintendent of Police, CID, Nagpur. The other officers in the team comprises Shweta Khedkar (Additional SP, Buldhana), Rupali Darekar (Deputy SP, Khamgaon), Bharati Gurunale (Assistant Police Inspector) and two woman constables. Darekar said that they have already started their investigations.”We have got the list from the school. Most of the tribal girl students are based in Jalgaon, Akola and Buldhana. We have set up multiple teams that will visit their locations to record their statements and obtain other information,” she said. Another woman official said that it would take at least a week to meet all the girls as most of them live in remote and hilly areas where they cannot take their vehicles.”It will take a week or so to meet all the 105 girls. Since we realise that because of fear and social stigma, they may feel reluctant to speak out about the incidents, we are taking along psychologists. Counselling is very important as all girls are minors.”

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SIT to question 105 tribal girl students