Blind Girl Repeatedly Raped by Two Teachers in India, Police Say—Manhunt Launched to Catch Suspects

Police in India say a manhunt has been launched for two teachers who are accused of raping a blind 15-year-old student in the music room of her boarding school.

Two suspects, named as Chaman Thakor, 62, and Jayanti Thakor, 30, were terminated from their jobs after the unnamed teenager described the assaults to her aunt last month, according to The Times of India. The school is based in Ambaji, which is a town in the state of Gujarat.

The student said she had been raped by the 30-year-old teacher in a music room approximately two months ago. Three days after the initial sex assault, she was targeted by the 62-year-old suspect.

The teenager was allegedly targeted again by the younger teacher the day prior to the Navratri religious festival, which took place between September 29 and October 8 this year, The Times of India reported.

The relation between the two suspects, who share the same surname, was not immediately clear.

The impaired student said the sexual assaults only stopped after she alerted other teachers to the behavior. Her family became aware of the situation after the teenager did not want to return to the school after going home to her native village for the Diwali festival last month.

According to The Times of India, the student enrolled in the school in July. The facility, which was not specifically named, reportedly offers courses for students with disabilities. The aunt's complaint regarding the alleged child rape was lodged to authorities on November 4.

Police inspector Ambaji JB Agrawat told the news outlet: "We are investigating the case and a manhunt has been launched to trace the two accused teachers who have fled."

There are tens of thousands of rapes committed against women every year in the country, which has been hit by a series of brutal high-profile sex assault cases in recent years, including on children and teens.

Some of the most-recent statistics, released by India's National Crime Records Bureau, say there were 38,947 rapes reported in 2016. There were 338,954 total reported crimes against women the same year, compared to 329,243 reported cases in 2015 and 339,457 in 2014.

In August, CNN reported seven suspects had been arrested in the country after a 15-year-old girl was gang raped and publicly shamed in Bihar state. In January last year, India was rocked by the abduction, torture, rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl named Asifa Bano.

The horrific cases forced the government to take action. In April, politicians updated the country's penal code to say anyone convicted of raping a child under the age of 12 could face the death penalty, while increasing prison sentences for anyone who is convicted of sexual assaults on girls under 16 and adult women, the BBC reported.

But Human Rights Watch said in a report about India this year that the numerous cases of rape in the country had "once again exposed the failures of the criminal justice system."

It said: "Victim-blaming is rampant, and lack of witness and victim protection laws make girls and women from marginalized communities even more vulnerable to harassment and threats.

The report adds: "Women and girls with disabilities continue to be at a heightened risk of abuse. Even though the laws on sexual violence include several provisions to safeguard the rights of women and girls with disabilities and facilitate their participation in investigative and judicial processes, girls and women with disabilities face serious barriers in the justice system."

India Rapes
Indian demonstrators hold placards during a silent protest 'Not In My Name' in support of rape victims following high profile cases in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh states, in New Delhi on April 15, 2018. SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty