A 14-year-old girl suffering from meningitis was brutally raped by three of her neighbours at Kalamaserry in Ernakulam during the Onam vacations in mid-September. The horrific incident came to light only on Gandhi Jayanthi i.e. October 2.
A few Kudumbasree (women self-help group) workers in the locality had noticed that the girl -who was a Class IX student of a nearby government school- had not been attending classes, even after the Onam break was over.
â€śThe parents were not aware about what had happened. She simply refused to go to school. They merely attributed it to her physical weakness,â€ť Kalamassery Circle Inspector Jayakrishnan told The News Minute.
The Kudumbasree workers however informed Kochi Childline about the girlâ€™s prolonged absence from school. The statement given by Childline to TNM says: â€śOn 02/10/2016 (Sunday), Childline Kochi received a call informing us that a Class IX student was not attending school, when classes resumed after Onam vacations.â€ť
The very next day, a team from Childline visited her home and spoke to her. Only then was it revealed, that the child was subjected to sexual abuse by three of her neighbours.
The police was immediately apprised of the same. After the victimâ€™s statement was recorded by the Childline team, Mannampillymukal Ravi (49), Punjayil Raju (50 and Mannompillil Rajesh(38) were arrested on 03 October.
â€śThe traumatized child could barely speak to the Childline team and was more or less seen in a lethargic state. Fortunately, she was able to explain what happened,â€ť read the statement.
The girl had sustained considerable internal and external injuries owing to the brutal assault, and she is still under treatment at the Kochi Medical College.
Police say that the girl was alone at home during vacations, as her parents had to go for work. â€śIt was during that time that she was abused by the accused,â€ť CI said. She is yet to overcome the mental trauma sustained, he added.
It was also learnt that all the accused were regular visitors to the house, as they were supposedly the friends of her father.
The girlâ€™s statement that was recorded by Nirish Antony -Kochi Coordinator of Childline- also mentions that a few relatives of the accused had approached the victimâ€™s family with an offer of compensation of one lakh rupees, demanding withdrawal of the case and insisting that the girl was insane.
The victimâ€™s family members are a worried lot, as all the accused reportedly wield a lot of influence in the area. According to CI Jayakrishan, since the girl is already suffering from meningitis, the added mental shock has further weakened her, with the hospital authorities informing the police that it would take a long time for her to completely recover.