The abuse came to light during an awareness programme at the girls’ school. The accused grocery store owner, Nataraj, has been remanded under the POCSO Act.

Representative image of three girls
news Sexual Abuse Monday, September 19, 2022 - 13:37

A 62-year-old grocery store owner, P Nataraj, from a village close to Anaimalai in Coimbatore district’s Pollachi was arrested for sexually abusing 15 minor girls aged 9 to 13. The abuse came to light during an awareness programme held at the girls’ school. A case has been filed under the sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act at the Pollachi All Women Police Station.

During the sexual abuse awareness programme at the girls’ school, one of the girls came forward about Nataraj, who lives on the same street as her, abusing her, Pollachi police told TNM. “Once the first girl came forward, others also did. The school’s headmistress alerted the child welfare officer in Anaimalai immediately who in turn alerted the deputy superintendent of police (DSP). The DSP instructed the inspector from Pollachi AWPS to take action,” an officer from the Pollachi All Women Police Station said.

Nataraj has been remanded and sent to Trichy Central Jail, the officer added. He has been charged under sections 7, 8, 9, 9(l), 9(m), 10, 11, 12 of the POCSO Act and IPC section 506 (criminal intimidation).

The awareness programme held at the school was a follow-up to the Coimbatore district police’s ‘Project Pallikoodam’ initiative. “We have been doing such programmes across schools. When we conducted such a programme at the school these girls study in, they had not come forward. But we have been encouraging teachers to do follow-up programmes. A maths teacher at the girls’ school has also been taking responsibility to conduct such programmes such as teaching them about sanitary products and sexual abuse. It was during one of these sessions that the girls spoke about the abuse by Nataraj,” the police officer said.

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