While the parents have alleged that the Class 12 student from Dharmapuri was raped, the police, who have booked the accused men under POCSO, say that the post-mortem report is yet to reveal the cause of death.

TN teen girl dies after alleged rape distraught family accuses cops of failing to act
news Crime Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 11:08

On November 3, Nithya*, a 17-year-old girl belonging to the ST community from Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu returned home from boarding school to celebrate Deepavali with her parents who live in the same district. Two days later, when she went to answer nature’s call at the woods near her home, she was allegedly raped by two men from the locality - Ramesh (22) and Satish (22). Nithya reported the incident to her parents who then approached the local police station and filed a complaint the following day; Nithya was asked to undergo a medical examination.

However, according to the police, on November 7, Nithya, who was temporarily put up at a children’s home, complained of dizziness and nausea and was taken to the Dharmapuri General Hospital. Unexpectedly, on Saturday morning, Nithya passed away. Even as the tragic death of this Class 12 student made sensational headlines across the state, questions about the crime, its cause and Nithya’s death throws up sobering answers.

‘She was raped’

Speaking to media persons outside the hospital, Nithya’s parents and daily wage labourers, Arumugam* and Saraswathi* looked distraught. They alleged that their daughter had been raped by the men near their home. While Nithya’s father said that her clothes had been ripped to shreds, her mother provided gruesome details of how Nithya was reportedly gagged with a gunny sack. 

Arumugam alleged, “When Ramesh and Satish heard people coming, they ran. Nithya got up and came and told her mother. She said that they raped her and tried to kill her. I came home only in the evening. I went to the police station and gave a complaint but they asked us to come in the morning. We were there till 10 pm. In the morning, they told us that they had registered a complaint and asked all three of us to come. When all three of us went, they said that they had remanded both of them and that they will not get bail. But no action has been taken. Police has no respect for us. They don’t care about us.”

Saraswathi, on the other hand, has alleged that the men were inebriated and Nithya, who was menstruating at the time, had fainted after being gagged. “They told her that they had already committed a murder and that no one would be able to do anything if they raped her. She had fainted. Her cousin discovered her as he was crossing by that area,” she said.

Hospitalization

Following the registration of a police complaint on November 6, Nithya was taken to the Harur government hospital for a medical examination. She was then shifted to a children’s home later the same day. According to the parents and investigating officials, Nithya had complained of dizziness and nausea on November 7. That afternoon, she was rushed to the Dharmapuri General Hospital.

Saraswathi says that her daughter was doing well and had been talking normally. According to the treatment summary provided by the hospital too, Nithya was conscious and oriented. However, she was suspected to have vertigo and ataxia, or a lack of muscle control.

A CT scan of the brain further revealed that Nithya showed diffuse cerebral oedema and space-occupying lesion of the brain or, growths within the skull. Even as doctors had witnessed an improvement in her health, Nithya had a sudden collapse on Saturday and could not be revived.

The medico-legal nature of the case meant that the girl’s body has now been sent for a post-mortem for further inquiry.

Police action and protests

According to investigating officials in Dharmapuri, Nithya was not raped. In her complaint, Nithya details that Ramesh and Satish had tried to pin her down on the ground but she had managed to fight them off and run away to her home, where she fainted out of exhaustion.

Police officials have filed an FIR and booked Ramesh and Satish under Sections 5g (whoever commits gang penetrative sexual assault on a child), 6(Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and 18(Punishment for attempt to commit an offence) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

“The accused are also from the same community (as the girl). They tried to molest her. She narrated her version of events to us at the police station. The accused are absconding. We have formed teams to nab them. We will be able to ascertain the reason for the death only after the post-mortem is completed,” said one senior police officer.

Meanwhile, Nithya’s family protested outside the hospital, refusing to take her body back on Saturday, and demanding that the perpetrators be brought to book.

*Names changed 

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