A Chhattisgarh police team has been sent to Uttarakhand to arrest the other CRPF trooper allegedly involved in the incident.

Two CRPF personnel have been accused of molesting girls after an event at their hostel in Dantewada on July 31.
Two CRPF personnel have been accused of molesting girls after an event at their hostel in Dantewada on July 31.(HT photo)

Chhattisgarh Police identified two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel accused of molesting schoolgirls during a cultural programme last month and arrested one of them on Wednesday.

Police said they arrested 31-year-old Shamim Ahmed and sent a team to Uttarakhand to arrest 34-year-old Neeraj Kandwal, who hails from the hill state and is on leave.

The alleged molestation took place in a girls hostel on July 31 in the Maoist stronghold of Dantewada during a programme where the students were supposed to tie rakhis to personnel. After the programme – sponsored by a private news channel – was done, security personnel allegedly followed the girls to the toilet and molested them.

“The two accused have been identified on the basis of photo identification of around 254 CRPF personnel by 16 victims on Tuesday,” said Abhishek Pallav, additional superintendent of police (Dantewada). Both have been suspended.

HT reported on Monday that the Chhattisgarh police launched an investigation against unknown CRPF personnel, a development that triggered widespread outrage in a region where security forces are often accused of egregious human rights violations.

The probe was launched after the warden complained to the police. Palnar, where the alleged incident took place, is 25 km away from the district headquarters of Dantewada.

The incident came to light after activist Himanshu Kumar wrote about the incident on Facebook on Sunday. Nearly 500 girls took part in the July 31 event, to be telecast on the local news channels, and tied rakhis on the personnel.

Following the complaint, an FIR was lodged against unidentified security personnel under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.