Man accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old in Kochi absconding, did police delay arrest?

The accused is a CPI(M) branch secretary, and that’s why the police haven’t arrested him yet, allege activists.
Man accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old in Kochi absconding, did police delay arrest?
Man accused of sexually abusing 8-year-old in Kochi absconding, did police delay arrest?
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An 8-year-old in Kochi has been sexually assaulted multiple times allegedly by her neighbour, but despite a police complaint and protests, no action has been taken against the accused.

The accused, PN Shagi, is a branch secretary of the CPI(M), and a friend of the survivor’s father, and has been absconding ever since the case came to light.

Accusing the police of delaying the arrest, activists in Kochi conducted a march towards Mulavukad police station on Saturday. But instead of promising action, the police resorted to lathicharge to suppress the protests.

“The accused used to come to our house along with his son, who is the same age as my daughter,” the survivor’s father, Raghavan* said. “His son also studies in her class. He used to go to the school to drop him. On February 1, he went to the school to drop his son and there, he harassed my daughter,” he said.

“He offered to let her play video games on his phone and abused her. Some of her classmates saw this and they complained to the teacher. The students also went back home and told their parents what they witnessed,” Raghavan explained.

But the survivor herself did not tell her parents because her teacher asked her not to. The family believes that the teacher might have tried to hide the incident since the accused was the president of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

It was only three days later that the parents came to know about what had happened in the school, from the parents of the other kids. That’s when Saritha*, the child’s mother, spoke to her about the accused.

“We found out that he had abused her multiple times when he came to our house,” said Raghavan.

“When she got scared and tried to run away, he would tell her it was a game.”

She also told her mother that she hated this man and once he came home, she cried seeing him and he asked her not to cry, and that he would not do anything. However, the parents did not take these signs seriously. The girl's father had been injured two months ago and was hospitalised. The mother had taken up work as a domestic help and the parents claim that they were too worried about the situation to notice the changes in the child.

When Raghavan and Saritha took the issue up with their daughter’s school, they called for a PTA meeting to discuss it. But even before the meeting was held, Shagi came to meet the parents of the child he had abused.

“He was my classmate in the school. He came here and told me he committed a mistake and apologised. I told him to come to school and later will decide on what to do. He came along with his wife. After that he is absconding that was the last time we saw him,” Raghavan said.

However, activists allege that police is not investigating the case as the accused has political connections.

“As per reports, this person might not have gone far. Police is intentionally not arresting him as he has good political connections,” said Salin, an activist.

However, Mulavukad police station house officer K Vijayan told The News Minute that they are investigating the case sincerely.

“The accused is absconding, we have intensified our probe. He will be caught soon. Yesterday the protesters had blocked the road that is why they were lathi charged,” he said.

*Names changed to protect identity.

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