Gelephu drungkhag court sentenced a teacher of a remote school in Gelephu drungkhag for molesting six girls in 2017 to four years and six months in prison.

The January 14 judgement stated that although the teacher, Bharat Sanyasi, was sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison for molesting six girls of the school, he was given concurrent sentencing of four years and six months in prison.

The 31-year-old teacher from Tashithang village of Sergithang gewog in Tsirang was found guilty of molesting a 14-year-old girl after calling the minor and her younger brother to his house and forced them to sleep in his house.

The judgment stated that when the siblings slept in his room after latching the door, he broke open 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.

Although the Office of Attorney General (OAG) charged the teacher for attempt to rape a child above 12 years for the crime, the court changed the charges to molestation reasoning that the teacher had only pulled off his pants and tried to pull off the victim’s trousers but there was nothing cruel and forceful attempt to rape.

The teacher, who taught English and Information Technology in the school since 2013, was given four years and six months for violating section 203 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004.

The crime was graded a fourth-degree felony with prison terms ranging from three to five years.

Bharat Sanyasi was given another three years and six months in prison for molesting the victim when she and her brother went to get A4 sheets from his house.

It was found that the teacher 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 did not tell anyone about it.

The teacher was also given another three years and six months 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 her to go saying he is her teacher and that he might fail her in the examination 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 and six months 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. She, however, slept on the sofa.

In March 2017, the teacher also molested another 12-year-old student in the school’s assembly ground when she went to ask some questions. He was sentenced to three years and six months for the crime.

The teacher was sentenced to another three years and six months in prison for molesting a 17-year-old girl.

Bharat Sanyasi was given another three years and six months sentencing for molesting another 13-year-old girl after calling her and friends to come to his house since 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 judgment stated that the teacher did not have a past criminal record and there was mitigating circumstance like mental disorder while he committed the crime. “So in accordance to section 210 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code, concurrent sentencing of the highest penalty was given to him.”

The sentencing is non-compoundable.

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 her teacher molested her after her parents sought the help of volunteers of a non-government organisation in the locality to counsel her.

He was granted bail on January 9 last year after being detained for one month and 23 days and he will now have to serve the remaining sentencing of four years four months and seven days.

Tashi Dema