On Friday, January 7, the neighbours of a five-year-old boy in Idukki’s Pethotty village noticed the boy was limping while walking. When they enquired, the boy alleged that his mother burnt a scalding hot steel ladle into the sole of his foot, leg and hip. The neighbours soon alerted the childline. On reaching the spot, the childline officials shifted the five-year-old to Shantanpara Primary Health Centre. The police arrested the mother on Friday evening.
According to the police, the mother, Bhuvana, admitted inflicting burn injuries on her son for disobeying her. Soon after the incident, which took place on Monday, January 3, the family left for Tamil Nadu, and returned on Thursday evening, January 6. The boy’s parents are Tamil Nadu natives and work as cardamom plantation workers in Shantanpara, the police told TNM.
The Shantanpara police registered the case against the mother under section 75 (cruelty to child) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Child) Act. “The child was provided initial treatment at Shantanpara Primary Health Centre and later shifted to Admali Taluk Hospital for further treatment. The injury on the boy’s foot needs further treatment," said a police official from Shantanpara police station.
According to Geetha MG, Idukki District Child Protection Officer, “The childline intervened as soon as they received the information. The five-year-old boy has a 3.5-year-old sibling as well. The district child protection unit will produce the siblings before the child welfare committee and then shift them to the child care centre. If needed, the child protection unit will provide financial assistance for the child’s treatment."
In her statement, the mother told the police that the boy was hyperactive and did not obey her directions, which made her punish her son with a hot steel ladle.
Meanwhile, Idukki has been increasingly reporting such incidents where children are physically or sexually assaulted by their parents, relatives or neighbours. In November 2020, a drunken father broke the right arm of his six-year-old daughter for throwing away his liquor bottle. The incident happened at Periyakudi tribal colony in Marayoor in Idukki. In 2019, a seven-year-old boy was brutally attacked and murdered by his mother's partner at Thodupuzha in Idukki.