The news about the brutal attack on a seven-year-old boy in Thodupuzha, which led to his death, has made violence against children a matter of concern in Kerala like never before. However, just days later, comes news of an 11-year-old migrant girl getting thrashed in public in the state's Malappuram district.
The 11-year-old girl, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, was beaten up by a local CPI (M) leader in Edappal in Malappuram. The girl has incurred deep cuts on her forehead and is currently undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Ponnani.
The accused, P Raghavan, a local committee member of CPI (M) and the former president of Vattamkulam panchayat, has been arrested by Changaramkulam police.
“He has been arrested on charges of IPC Section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), Section 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and Section 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means). The accused was charged under the first two sections initially. Section 326 was added later after consulting the doctor and taking into consideration the severity of the wound inflicted on the child,” a Changaramkulam police official told TNM.
According to Child Line officials in Malappuram, the child, who works as a rag-picker, was attacked by Raghavan over an accusation of theft.
The girl, along with another child, was collecting rags near a hospital when Raghavan started beating the 11-year-old, alleging they had committed theft.
"According to the statement of the child, they were collecting rags near a hospital in the area. Raghavan came to them, snatched the sack from one of them and started beating the 11-year-old child, alleging they had committed theft. While he was thrashing her, the child sustained injuries on her head after a piece of an iron rod which was inside the sack struck her,” a Child Line officer told TNM.
According to the Child Line officials, the girl lives with her aunt and family in Malappuram. “They told us her parents were living in Andhra Pradesh,” the official said. The child, who is undergoing treatment in Malappuram, will be taken to Government Medical College in Thrissur for further treatment.
“The other child who was with the injured girl will be taken to a safe location after consultation with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Children involved in rag-picking is something that has been prohibited. The CWC in its meeting will decide further action,” said the official.
Based on the media reports regarding the incident, Kerala State Human Rights Commission has registered a suo motu case. The commission has also ordered Malappuram police chief to submit a report on the incident within three weeks. Commission member K Mohan Kumar also asked the district Collector of Malappuram to submit a report on the preventive actions taken against the increasing attacks against children.