Rajesh Rai | Samtse

Although not alarming in numbers, most of the violence cases against children in Samtse, one of the most populated dzongkhags in the country, are related to sex, as per records with the police.

The superintendent of police, Colonel Lhundrup Dorji, said that most cases involved sexual harassment and molestations.

“Sometimes it is between relatives,” he said.

There are five police stations in Samtse—Samtse, Dorokha, Tashichholing, Gomtu, and Norbugang.

As per the records with the RBP, starting 2019 until this year, the dzongkhag saw a total of 38 violence against children, the highest being in 2021 with 14 cases. Five cases have been registered so far this year.

Tashichholing station saw four cases of violence against children in 2021. Of the total, two were child molestation cases, one battery, and a statutory rape, which is a pending case as of now.

The statutory rape case of an eight-year old girl shook the nation last year. However, after months of investigation, according to sources, the evidence proved no rape. Medical reports were also confirmed, sources said.

Police will submit the report to the court and the case will be closed, police sources confirmed.

Tashichholing police didn’t see any cases in 2020 and 2019. A total of four cases involving youth were larceny, auto stripping, and burglary.

In Norbugang police station, a total of 12 cases were registered as violence against children. All these were sexual violence cases.

Between 2019 and 2021, police in Dorokha saw six cases related to violence against children.

NCWC’s focal person in Samtse said that although there are not many cases of violence against children, most are sexual offences such as molestation and harassment against girls.

“Cases related to boys are criminal cases not alarming here in Samtse,” he said.

Meanwhile, as per records with RENEW, violence against children in Samtse is also attributed to marital problems. The RENEW CBSS volunteer in the dzongkhag, Kinley Dorji, said that most cases were reported because children depend on others when their parents are not on terms.

“Otherwise, there are not many cases of violence,” he said.

As per RENEW CBSS record, Samtse saw five domestic violence cases until June this year. In 2021, there were 35 cases, and 23 in 2020.

Kinley Dorji, however, said he once came across a unique case in Dorokha, one that was culturally driven.

“Some families give children their inheritance early and

 young. The children have to look after or care for the inheritance on their own, which is a burden,” he said.

In one case, Kinley Dorji said that the parents had given their daughter some chickens and goats as an inheritance. The girl had to work and earn to pay someone for looking after the animals when she was in school.

Recently, a 13-year-old boy in one of the schools in Samtse impregnated a 14-year-old girl. Both were day scholars.