Ameenpur (Hyderabad): Rape is one of the most common crimes against women in India. According to the National Crime Bureau (NCRB), in 2018, 33,356 incidents of rape were reported with an average of 89 rapes daily, among which every fourth rape victim across the country was a minor.
In a recent incident, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was repeatedly raped in Hyderabad’s Maruti Orphanage and succumbed to her injuries at Niloufer Hospital on 10 August.
Maruti Orphanage is based in Ameenpur, a small village in Sangareddy district in the outskirts of Hyderabad. The child care institution was established in 2015 by Chilukuri Vijaya and her brother Surapaneni Jayadeep.
The duo said to have arranged contacts to get donors for the orphanage from various child care homes they previously worked with. The 54-year-old Naredla Venugopal Reddy, the donor at the orphanage, frequently visited and often asked the girl to accompany him to the fifth floor.
The girl was admitted in Maruti Orphanage by her uncle in 2015 after her parents passed away in an accident. On being asked several times by her aunt, she admitted that Venugopal sedated her with juice and did not remember what happened later.
She reportedly complained to the wardens but was threatened. When the aunt found out, she went to the orphanage to ask and was being told that the girl fell down and so did the other two children. The repeated rape had caused the child’s health to deteriorate.
She also stated that another girl in the orphanage was going through the same fate.
The girl had asked the wardens to let her go home but they did not allow her. Later she contacted her uncle and told him the same. They visited the institute and took the girl to their home, after which she fell sick. The 14-year-old was studying in 5th grade and aspired to become a lawyer.
Denied admission in the initial days of lockdown, she was taken by her aunt to her house from her cousin’s. After seeing strange stiffness in her legs, the aunt took her niece to CWC, Rangareddy for examination. As stated by the aunt, the gynaecologist denied to give her any information and forced her to write the letter to get the girl in their custody.
CWC registered complaint against the girl’s uncles on 7 August in Jeedimetla Police Station under Section 324 (voluntary assault by instrument) IPC, Section 75 (punishment for cruelty to child) Justice Juvenile Act 2015 and 9 (h)(1)(n) POCSO Act 2012 for harassing and sexually abusing the girl while she visited them in her holidays.
Sajaya Kakarla, a social activist, working with Women & Transgender Joint Action Committee told TwoCircles.net that CWC’s general rule is that they have all the right to send the child to any Child Care Institute (CCI) with proper infrastructure after parents/guardians letter of permission and they did so in this case and sent her to observation home at Nimboliadda.
The aunt was clueless of her niece’s whereabouts since she took her to CWC and also was denied permission to meet the girl.
The only nagging doubt Sajaya is left with is, ‘the girl was taken to CWC on the evening of 3 August and they filed the police complaint against the child’s two uncles on 7 August. Why did CWC take so long to register a complaint?’
After denying permission to meet her niece for a stint, the aunt was called on 10 August by Niloufer Hospital to visit her niece since she was in critical condition. “She was in bed with eyes wide open and tongue out. She was just breathing, she was in a coma,” said the aunt. Later she succumbed to her injuries on the same day.
The Women and Child Welfare Department suspended the registration of Maruti Orphanage and shifted the rest 50 children to other child care institutes.
“We are not pointing out on any particular institution, but asking for a proper investigation collectively on all of the child care institutes,” said Sajaya. “It is a case of complete negligence and institution failure.”
Venugopal, Vijaya and Jayadeep have been booked with several cases by police under Section 376(3) (punishment for rape and imprisonment of minimum 20 years and extendable), Section 342 (wrongful confinement), Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), Section 328 (causing hurt by means of poison and imprisonment for 10 years), Section 506 (criminal intimidation), Section 109 (punishment for abetment) under IPC and 5(1) r/w 6 of POCSO Act 2012 after the child’s registered statement on 31 July.
The case was initially registered in Bowenpalli Police Station in Secunderabad and shifted to Ameenpur Police Station on 1 August 2020.
“My only wish remains, that no other girl has to undergo the same,” said the aunt.
Courtesy Two Circles.net