While the prime accused is in custody, those who participated in the panchayat and the hospital that did the abortion are being probed.

Mentally ill Telangana minor raped dies after panchayat compels abortion Image for representation only
news Crime Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 15:28

On Friday evening, 17-year-old Sarika (name changed) was rushed to the Khammam Government Area Hospital, her body racked with infection. Although doctors struggled to treat her for nearly three hours, at 9.30pm the teenager was declared dead.

What was most shocking about Sarika’s death was that the mentally ill minor’s deadly infection came after she was allegedly repeatedly raped for many months, became pregnant and underwent a botched abortion.

According to Kallur SI Pawan Kumar, Sarika's parents have filed a complaint alleging that Chennakesav, a 24-year-old man from the same village, had taken advantage of Sarika's mental illness to rape her several times. The parents have also filed a complaint against the village panchayat for making her undergo a botched abortion.

According to the SI, the matter first came to light in April, when Sarika’s parents found out that she was five months pregnant. They then took the matter to the village panchayat. The panchayat offered Chennakesav a choice – either to marry Sarika, or to pay a fine of Rs 40,000 to Sarika’s family and arrange for her pregnancy to be aborted.

Following the panchayat’s decision, Chennakesav and his mother took Sarika to a private hospital in Khammam town, where an abortion was conducted in April, the SI said.

However, Sarika’s health soon began to fail despite multiple visits to various hospitals. When her illness reached its most acute stage, her parents rushed her to various hospitals, which allegedly refused to admit her.

The SI said that it was at this point that Sarika’s parents approached the police, asking for help in admitting her to a government hospital. It was only at this point that the entire saga, from the initial episodes of alleged sexual abuse to the panchayat’s decision on the matter became known to the police.

The police then rushed Sarika to the government hospital, where she passed away. Speaking to Telugu news channel 10TV, a doctor at the Khammam government hospital, who had treated Sarika, said that it was already too late by the time she was brought to the hospital.

"The girl was brought to the hospital very late. There was heavy bleeding and the infection had spread all over her body. Her BP and other vital signs were in a very bad state. Her death was caused by a failed abortion.”

The police have registered a complaint under the POCSO Act and sections of the IPC, based on a complaint from Sarika’s mother.  

“We have taken the prime accused, Chennakesav, into custody. We are also examining the village residents who were involved in the panchayat,” the SI said.

“We have got some basic information on the hospital in which the abortion was performed. We are investigating as to who were the persons who performed the abortion, and whether the hospital is properly licensed. Once all the information is obtained cases will be filed against them too,” he added.   

The SI added that the case is being further investigated by the Khammam Circle Inspector. 

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