"The warden poured chilli powder in my mouth. It burned so much."
A 15-year-old Indian teen has revealed how she allegedly suffered torture and abuse in a hostel due to rumours that she was a ‘lesbian’.
In 2017, the youngster’s parents sent her from Manipur to a convent school, located in Karnataka. Whilst attending school, she would also stay at a hostel.
However, the 15-year-old, name changed to Reshma*, told The News Minute that she would repeatedly suffer from beatings. She recalled one particular incident:
“It was some time in the last week of December when my roommates picked up a fight with me. I did not understand why they were angry with me and had no clarity about what they were saying.
“By the time I could process that, they got together and thrashed me. That’s when the warden intervened. I thought she would help me but like always, even she beat me up.”
Reshma claimed that students had spread rumours that she was a lesbian. This became their motive to attack her on several occasions.
However, these rumours even angered the hostel warden, who reportedly believed them. She would also beat up the 15-year-old because of “treading against the wrong path” due to religious values.
Despite Reshma saying the rumours were untrue, her torment continued. The youngster also claimed the warden would order the students to attack her.
In another incident, they allegedly held her down while “the warden poured chilli powder in my mouth. It burned so much.” She was also refused water in order to “accept her mistake”.
The teenager’s school friends, who don’t stay at the hostel, soon learned of the torture and informed her brother. He told The News Minute:
“When I came down from Manipur, the warden told me that my sister had tried to sexually assault another girl, which is why the other students had thrashed her.
“The warden told me that if my sister apologises, then everything would settle down. But my sister said that she did not want to say sorry because she was the one who had suffered. So we decided to file a complaint.”
On 29th December 2017, the siblings contacted Child Line to report the abuse. Within the same day, Reshma gave a statement to the Special Juvenile Police Unit and a complaint filed with the Children Rights Commission.
Officers visited the school for preliminary investigations, where the warden claimed the teenager had “made advances to other girls”. They will now gather statements from the students involved.
Meanwhile, Reshma now lives with her brother but is scared to return to the hotel. However, her school and headmistress have reportedly been supportive, telling the teenager she can still attend class and exams.
Police will continue their investigation into the allegations.