Kohlapur: The head of an ashram in Sangli district of Maharashtra was arrested by the police on Thursday for repeatedly raping at least five girl students of a school and molesting another three girls in the last six months. A woman attendant of the school was also arrested for assisting the accused in his acts.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kishore Kale said that they received an anonymous complaint on Tuesday about the sexual exploitation of the girls. “A police team, along with members of the Child Welfare Committee and officials of the district welfare committee, visited the school on Thursday morning. Five girls complained that they had been repeatedly raped by the school’s founder president while three girls said he had molested them. Seven of the eight girls are minors. All eight said the woman attendant had helped the founder president in his acts,” he said.

The police arrested the founder president and the woman attendant Ashramshala head held for rape. The accused, as well as the woman attendant, were held under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 376 (rape) of the IPC as well as under sections of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

DSP Kale added, “The girls, who hail from poor backgrounds, are residential students living in the school’s hostel. They are students from Class 7 to 12. As many as 90 girls, both residential and non-residential, are studying in school.”

Meanwhile, the police are gathering information about the security measures that are present in the school and hostel. The police are probing if there were any similar incidents in the past that have taken place.