Though police have cited the cause of death to be respiratory issues, members of her family alleged foul play.

Protestors carrying body of deceased childImage credit: Asianet News
news Controversy Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 19:57

The Child Welfare Committee office in Kerala’s Ernakulam district witnessed dramatic scenes on Wednesday, as a crowd gathered in front of the gate, carrying the body of a 14-year-old girl, who died two days ago. The child who was autistic, was a survivor of child sexual abuse and had been living in a private children’s home in Kochi, under the CWC's protection, for two years. On Monday, she allegedly collapsed and died at the children’s home.

Though the police have said that the preliminary medical report suggests that the death was due to respiratory issues, a section of her family and members of the Youth Congress alleged that was foul play and lapses on the CWC's behalf.

According to CWC officials and the police, the child was shifted from her house to a private children’s home in Pachalam, near Kochi city in 2018 after her father and his friend were booked for allegedly sexually abusing her. The trial in the case is ongoing in a court.

The protestors who gathered in front of the CWC office on Wednesday alleged that CWC officials had not allowed family members to meet the child in the past, despite multiple attempts. A member of Youth Congress also alleged that assault marks were discovered on the child's body, but the proof for such an allegation is unclear.

Watch video of the protest

Talking to TNM, officials of Ernakulam North police station, said that the child had eosinophilia infection and had been taking medicines for it. “According to doctors, she had pneumonia also. Though we don’t yet have a post mortem report, we haven’t been informed about anything suspicious by the doctors,” said a police official. The official also added that a case of unnatural death has been registered and a probe is on.

Meanwhile officials of CWC denied the allegations raised by the protestors. “We have not done anything violating the law. The family members, in this case, the paternal grandmother, was denied permission to visit the child as per the law. They also did not have proper identity cards,” Bitty Joseph, Chairperson of Ernakulam CWC told TNM.

She also added that the officials of the children’s home had not reported that the child was unwell. “She was lodged at this centre as she needs special care. Usually, they report developments regarding the children on a daily basis. But they had not mentioned anything unusual about the child. We were informed on Monday that she collapsed and died,” added the Chairperson.

Kochi Deputy Police Commissioner Aishwarya Dongre who spoke to the media also stated that the cause of death of the child was pneumonia.

Watch video: Deputy Commissioner's reaction

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