On Sunday, the Kerala police arrested a 25-year-old man in Kozhikode on charges of sexual assault and criminal intimidation of a 13-year-old Dalit girl in his fatherâ€™s orphanage. He has been charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
The accused is identified as Austin, the son of the director of an orphanage in Kozhikode. The complainant is a school student in Kozhikode. In her statement, she has alleged that Austin sexually assaulted her over the Christmas holidays, and threatened her not to reveal the incident. She also alleged that Austinâ€™s mother physically tortured her.
Austin was arrested on the basis of the statement given by the minor. â€śWe had taken the statement from the minor on Saturday and arrest was made based on those details. Austin is currently under police custody,â€ť Assistant Commissioner of Kozhikode, Prithviraj told TNM.
â€śThe minor has alleged sexual harassment charges on Austin and she has also said that his mother had physically tortured her. She told us that the incident had happened during the Christmas vacation. The case is progressing and we are investigating the matter,â€ť he added.
Austinâ€™s mother has been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act, the Assistant Commissioner added. However, so far thereâ€™s no case against the orphanage.
The police said that Austin has denied all charges, and that they are investigating the matter.
The girl belongs to the Pulaya community â€“ a Scheduled Caste in Kerala. A case has been registered at Kunnamangalam police station under Sections 7 and 8 of POCSO (sexual assault), the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, as well as IPC sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and 506 (1) (offence of criminal intimidation).
The orphanage authorities were unavailable for comment.