A child raped & killed in Puducherry, growing anger over rampant drug use
A child raped & killed in Puducherry, growing anger over rampant drug use

Ground report: A child raped & killed in Puducherry, growing anger over rampant drug use

The rage over the incident has evolved into a campaign against ganja and alcohol, with the opposition leading the protests. Police sources meanwhile have maintained the murder is not connected to drug or alcohol use.
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TW: Details of sexual assault, violence

A nine-year-old Dalit girl was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered just 200 metres from her home at Muthialpet in Puducherry, and residents allege that the police’s failure to heed their repeated pleas — to widen the scope of the search for the missing girl — has contributed to the severity of the tragedy. The residents and the police scoured the locality for days after she went missing on March 2, but the officers allegedly refused to expand the search to adjacent streets, despite her family and neighbours asking them to do so. The reason they cited was that the CCTV footage they received showed no indication of the child having left the street. 

The girl, a Class 5 student from the Paraiyar community which is a Scheduled Caste (SC) in Tamil Nadu, was found dead in a drain nearby on March 5. A day later, two men who lived in the areas that went unsearched by the police were booked for allegedly abducting, sexually assaulting, and murdering her. M Karunas alias Kakka (19), who is also of the Paraiyar caste, and G Harikrishnan Vivekanandhan (54), of the Yadavar caste which falls under Other Backward Classes (OBC), were arrested on March 6. 

Shaken by the horrific nature of the crime, the residents of the union territory (UT) soon took to the streets in large numbers, demanding to hang the culprits or shoot them dead. Though police sources maintain that the crime is not connected to drug or alcohol use, residents of Muthialpet have been alleging that both the accused were frequent users of ganja and liquor. These allegations, aided by the residents’ existing concerns about the rampant availability of intoxicants in the region, has also paved way to a renewed campaign against drugs and alcohol in Puducherry. As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, Opposition parties have now taken on the mantle, leading the protests against the drug and liquor policies of Puducherry’s All India N.R. Congress (AINRC) - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. 

The child goes missing

It was on Saturday, March 2 that the child went missing from her home, where she and her 11-year-old sister were alone after their parents left for work. The children didn’t have school, but both parents had to go to work early in the morning. The father drives a pickup truck for a living, while the girls’ mother does domestic work in a few houses. 

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