The Khotang District Court has extended the custody of Madan Rai, the founder of Shubhadra Madan (Shubham) Foundation who has been accused of sexually harassing girls staying with the foundation for study, by seven more days for investigation.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Manjil Mukarung at District Police Office, Khotang, the Khotang District Court on Sunday granted police permission to keep Rai in custody for seven more days.
Rai was arrested from his foundation on Friday after Setopati published a report with testimonies of girls studying in the foundation accusing Rai, 75, of touching their private parts, soliciting sexual intercourse, asking them to touch his private parts, flashing and other pervert activities.
Rai accepted doing all that with Setopati.
Setopati reached the foundation in Diktel of Khotang and talked with girls studying in the foundation’s school, and women studying in the foundation and teaching the children. We also talked with a few girls in the Kathmandu Valley.
Shubham Foundation has been running Janajagriti Higher Secondary School, a community school in Diktel, taking over its management for the past nine years. The majority of students in the school live at the foundation’s hostel and are also taught about agriculture and other vocational activities apart from studying.
Former teachers and mentors studying there have also confirmed that Rai has sexually harassed girls studying there.
Setopati talked with three girls still suffering sexual harassment at the foundation, three girls who left the foundation due to his sexual harassment, former teachers and other staffers.
Setopati has also acquired a video showing him getting undressed in front of the students during a program held three years back, another video showing him repeatedly speak obscene words in front of four students a few months back and another video showing him speaking obscene words and making obscene gestures in front of all the students of the school while investigating for the story.
We have also acquired a video showing a girl studying at the school massaging his body. Another girl has told Setopati that Rai used to ask her to massage his body.
The girls and women sexually harassed by him have told Setopati that Rai would always use obscene language while speaking with them and invariably divert any conversation toward sex, touch their private parts, solicit sexual intercourse, ask them to touch his private parts, resort to flashing and other pervert activities in the pretext of providing knowledge about reproductive health.
They have told Setopati that Rai would sexually harass them while he was staying at the foundation during his regular visits, and when he brought a few girls to his home in Dholahiti, Lalitpur, for a couple of months for urban education during the winter season.
One of the girls has also accused one Peshal Karki, who worked as mentor for animal husbandry department at the foundation, of touching her chest after calling her to the store for the first time, and continuing to do so and kissing her, groping her from behind, and pinching her on multiple occasions.
We have also talked with a woman who used to study bachelor’s at the foundation, and work as a mentor for the kids until recently. She has confirmed that three-four girls had complained with her about sexual harassment by Rai.
“I know that Madan Rai told two girls that he would teach them about how to have sexual intercourse, and they should sleep him. They were frightened while telling me about that,” the mentor has stated. “They said that Rai would touch them indecently from earlier times. There was no environment for us to speak against him.”
She has added that Rai would target girls from poor financial back-grounds who were studying free of cost and would not retaliate for sexual harassment. “He would spare those who can speak up and retaliate.”
Tek Bahadur Karki, who joined the foundation as a teacher three years back, has also confirmed about Rai’s pervert activities. “He would speak obscene language and make obscene signs in the name of imparting sexual knowledge. He would undress and flash while speaking in front of all of us. I have heard that he would touch the body of some of the girls while I have seen some girls fleeing when he tried to touch them improperly.”
Rai has said he would feel relieved after talking with the kids about genitals and sexual intercourse, according to Karki. “We had to listen when he would speak. He would get angry otherwise. It was routine to hear obscene language. I tried to correct him asking why he did such things. He would say that his suffocation would alleviate after doing so.”
Karki has revealed that Rai would fear that he would be taken to the jail by the kids studying there.
Another woman who worked as a mentor for almost four years and left the foundation only recently has also confirmed about Rai’s pervert activities, and revealed that many young boys have started to copy his obscene language and activities.
Principal of Janajagriti Higher Secondary School Sabita Dhakal has expressed ignorance about sexual harassment by Rai. “I have never heard about sexual harassment of students studying at our school. Everyone knows how Rai talks. We all feel embarrassed when he talks obscene but we remain silent. But I have never heard about him sexually harassing students,” she has claimed. “I only coordinate and do formal works. The school management committee and the foundation have taken all the responsibilities about how to teach. I don’t know as neither the students nor the teachers have complained. I will investigate the matter now.”
Chairman of the school management committee and director of the foundation Surya Rai has also claimed that there has been no complaint until now while acknowledging about use of obscene language by Madan Rai which cannot be accepted in a civilized society.
“We have a campaign. We have operated such a big school as per his concept that education and learning should be good. We have brought students from other places and taught them for free. We have, therefore, overlooked the style of speaking in an obscene manner about sexual matters that cannot be accepted by the society. I will work to improve that after your question,” Surya Rai has elaborated.
We have also talked with Madan Rai about the allegations of sexual harassment and soliciting sex from girls and he does not refute them. He has said that he has touched private parts of girls as he believes in free sex. He has stressed that he is ready to go to the jail for that. He has used obscene language even while talking with us over the phone.
“I touch *****of girls. I even touch private parts of boys. I have not raped anyone or indulged in sexual violence. I have been saying there should be free sex to ensure that there are no rapes,” he has added. “I speak in Nepali language when talking that there should be free sex.****** these words are words of Nepali language.”
When pointed that the law of the land prohibits touching private parts and sexually harassing kids he has responded, “There lies the problem. The problem has arisen as that has not been used. I do many things here that are not allowed by the laws. Do write about this. The police may take me and lock me up for 24 days. I want to go to the court and debate.”
He has also sent a long text message after the phone conversation. “…I am happy that you have investigated about my wrong activities. I am ready to face punishment for my wrong acts. But I am already too old to comply with the limits set by the laws and regulations.”
The sexual harassment of girls by Rai at his foundation violates the Act Related to Children 2018. Section 66(3) has listed 11 kinds of offenses that constitute sexual abuse.
66(3a) includes ‘To show, or cause to show, him or her an obscene picture, audiovisual recording or other material of similar kind or display, or cause to display, such expression or gesture that reflects obscene or sexual conduct or behavior to him or her or display, or cause to display, child pornography,’
(3c) includes ‘To propose, lure, coerce or threaten him or her for sexual activity,’
(3e) includes ‘To touch, kiss, hold sensitive parts of body of him or her, embrace him or her with sexual intent or cause him or her to touch or hold sensitive parts of own body or body of another person or render him or her unconscious with sexual intent or display, or cause him or her to display sexual organs,’
(3f) includes ‘To use, or cause to use, him or her for stimulating sexual lust or sexual excitement,’
(3g) includes ‘To use, or cause to use, him or her for the purpose of sexual gratification.’
The offenses of sexual abuse can be punished by a fine of up to Rs 75,000 and sentence of up to three years.