RBP asks people to not fall for fake news on social media in Tsirang case

The 54-year-old officiating principal of one of the primary schools in Tsirang, arrested on 5 November for alleged molestation of 8 students of class two and three, was granted bail on medical grounds following a request made by his relative.

Meanwhile, the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) clarified that the allegations made by an anonymous person on social media is untrue.

RBP clarified that the molestation case was reported to police by the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) Unit of the Dzongkhag with intimation to the Dzongkhag authorities, and not by the contract teacher of the primary school, as alleged in the social media posts posted through fake accounts.

RBP also clarified that the interviews of the victims, who are all minors, were conducted jointly by RBP, NCWC representative, parents and teachers. “The confession of the Officiating Principal has been recorded to be submitted to the Court as evidence. The case is being handled judiciously following the due process of law,” the clarification reads.

It was learnt from a reliable source that the suspect did not confess to having molested the students directly. However, he agreed to having pinched them on their buttocks and thighs as a part of punishment, the source added.

“Pinching and touching on their buttock and thigh, itself, is not acceptable and based on his confession, they have arrested for further investigation,” the source said.

The alleged relationship between the contract teacher and the Officer Commanding of Tsirang Police is baseless and untrue, RBP clarified.

RBP urged the public not to conduct orchestrated campaigns against the institution by way of unfounded, defamatory and malicious posts on social media.

“While the RBP value public views and opinions, it may also be noted that anyone engaged in making baseless allegations will be charged for distorting facts and misinforming the public,” RBP added.

The account Kencho Lham that made the various allegations is a fake account and can no longer be found on social media.

The account claimed to be one of the parents of the children and she claimed that she reached the police station with other parents to say that the students had been coached to say bad touch.

However, the RBP confirmed that no parent had come forward with that claim.

The account claimed to be one of the parents in Tsirang but she gave her current place of residence as Samdrup Jongkhar as a Druk PNB employee. The bank does not have a branch in that Dzongkhag.

Her profile picture was also taken from a website that shows pictures of Asian girls.

If the fake profile claiming to be a parent really had proof of even one student being coached, then she could have come forward and the entire case would have collapsed, but she did not come forward with such evidence.

The police on its part has not released information on what the students told the joint team of police, NCWC, parents and teachers on the nature of bad touch, in part, to respect the privacy of the allegedly molested students.

Despite the fake account presenting zero evidence the post went viral and was readily believed by many Bhutanese who was taken in by the provocative story perhaps showing that while Bhutan has a high literacy rate it still is falling behind in term of media literacy and even more so in social media literacy.

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