Altering the Gelephu drungkhag court’s concurrent judgment, the Sarpang dzongkhag court sentenced a teacher to 20 years in prison for molesting six students and attempted rape of another.
Gelephu drungkhag court sentenced Bharat Sanyasi, 31, from Tashithang village of Sergithang gewog in Tsirang to 28 years and six months in prison for molesting the six students, all minors. The court gave concurrent sentencing of four years and six months in prison in January this year. The drungkhag court also changed the charges of attempt to rape of a child above 12 years to molestation.
Both the defence lawyer, Karma Lhuntsi and the state prosecutor, the Office of Attorney General (OAG), appealed against the judgment to Sarpang dzongkhag court.
The appellate court, on September 30, sentenced Bharat Sanyasi to five years in prison for attempting to rape and molesting a 14-year-old girl after calling the minor and her younger brother to his house and forcing them to sleep in his house.
When the siblings slept in his room after latching the door, he broke the door and slept near the minor without any clothing on him. The girl ran away from the teacher’s house at 11pm and went home.
Bharat Sanyasi molested the victim when she and her brother went to get A4 papers from his house.
He made the siblings watch a movie and asked the victim to come and pick some guava. When they reached near the fruit tree, he asked the minor to sit on his lap and made sexual advances. The girl went home without even taking the paper but could not tell anyone about it.
The teacher was given another three years in prison for molesting another student, a 13-year-old girl, after asking the victim’s mother to send the minor to his home. When the minor refused, the mother insisted reasoning academic repercussions if she didn’t listen to him. The minor went to the teacher’s house along with her brother and the teacher molested her in front of the brother.
Bharat Sanyasi was given another three years in prison for molesting a 12-year-old girl on September 25, 2017, by calling her and two other friends to his house. When the minor was preparing curry in the kitchen, he molested her. The girl could not share the incident with her friends and the teacher forced her to sleep near him.
He was given another three years imprisonment for molesting a 12-year-old student in March 2017 in the school’s assembly ground when she went to ask some questions.
The teacher was sentenced to another three years in prison for molesting a 17-year-old girl.
Bharat Sanyasi was given another three years in prison for molesting another 13-year-old girl after calling her and friends to come to his house claiming he was not feeling well. After the minors had dinner, the teacher brought his beddings and said he wanted to sleep with them. Even when the girls denied, he slept in the same room, made the minor share his bed and molested her.
The teacher, who taught English and Information Technology in the school since 2013, was ordered to pay a compensation of Nu 22,500 to the 14-year-old victim whom he molested and attempted to rape. He will have to pay Nu 11, 250 each to the other five victims.
Police in Gelephu arrested the teacher on November 16, 2017, after it was reported that a student dropped out of school because of the teacher’s conduct. The student confided that the teacher molested her after her parents sought the help of volunteers of RENEW, who went to conduct awareness in the locality.
Sarpang dzongkhag court ruled that defendant Bharat Sanyasi, as a teacher, had the responsibility to teach, advise and guide the students. “He, however, violated the teacher’s code of conduct and took advantage of the vulnerability of the students.”
The court also ruled that the sentencing will be consecutive since the victims’ are different individuals and the crime was committed on different occasions. “The sentencing is expected to deter child abuse cases.”
It is also non-compoundable sentencing, where the defendant will not be allowed to pay thrimthue in lieu of prison term.