Sexual assault FIR against Dalit children in Madurai fabricated, says CWC

It is alleged that the police were pressurised by certain caste Hindu leaders to register the FIR.
Sexual assault FIR against Dalit children in Madurai fabricated, says CWC
Sexual assault FIR against Dalit children in Madurai fabricated, says CWC
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An FIR registered against five Dalit children from Madurai, for allegedly sexually assaulting five other children, had shocked Tamil Nadu. However, a probe by the District Child Welfare Committee has found that the case was ‘fabricated’, and had allegedly been instigated by community leaders.

The five accused in the case were four nine-year-old children and one six-year-old.

A member of the Child Welfare Committee, who did not want to be named, told The News Minute, “We went and met the children (victims) at the hospital, then the school headmasters and also the investigating officer in the case.”

The CWC member claimed that the case had been fabricated. “Three or four caste Hindu leaders had pressurized the police of the M Kallupatti police station to file a false case against the five children and an FIR was registered,” he said.

However, he refused to provide any further details from the report as it is a confidential report. He said that the final decision on the report will be taken by the Madras High Court when the case comes up for hearing next.

Earlier the district administration had ordered the CWC to form a four-member panel and probe the case. A report by the CWC was submitted to both the collector and the court.

Bhaskar Marutham, Youth Wing Secretary of the Puthiya Tamizhagam, had filed a writ petition before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court stating that the FIR in the case had been lodged illegally against the five Dalit children and asking that strict action be taken against the police who filed the case.

“The case came up for hearing on Monday, and the court ordered the case to be supervised by the Deputy Superintendent of Police and action be taken against the police who filed the case against the five children,” said Bhaskar.

He also reiterated the claims of the CWC panel. “When the CWC met the victims, they did not mention anything specified in the FIR. No sexual assault happened in this case. Even the police admitted in front of the CWC that because they were pressurised by community leaders, they registered the FIR,” alleged Marutham.

The police had booked the five Dalit children under Sections 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 294 (b) (Sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 596 (ii) (Punishment for criminal intimidation), apart from the POCSO Act.

Marutham said that the incident was a scuffle between children aged between six and nine years. “The children just threw stones on each other and later went back to their schools. This incident was instigated by a community leader and he forced the police to file an FIR against the Dalit children,” he claimed.

On August 5, 2015, five Dalit children, including a girl, were booked for allegedly sexually assaulting five children from a higher caste community under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The police had told The News Minute, “The accused touched the body parts of the victims before pouring cow dung mixture on them and also attacked them with stones. Two girls sustained injuries.”

The Sub-Inspector of the M Kallupatti police station refused to comment on the issue and the CWC claims.

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