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Minor Girl Raped: Disbelief and Distress Looms the Chennai Gated Community

The community’s horror

Over the past few months every news article we have come across is jam-packed with the names of many sexual predators. Sexual abuse, molestation, rapes; what else does our society breathe to see? Week after week these abuses grow and now we stand mourning for the 12-year-old child from Chennai who has faced the worst nightmares in the past 7 months. A habitual day and a usual journey back from school. Did this 12-year-old little girl expect that the person introduced by her mother as the lift uncle would torment her forever? Hailing from a North Indian family settled in Ayanavaram, Chennai, this child has faced the worst nightmares in the past 7 months: the 7 ominous months of abuses, threats and tears. The child lives with her mother in a gated community in Ayanavaram, Chennai. Her Father works away from home most of the days whereas her sister is pursuing her education in Delhi. 17 men working in the residence were arrested including 2 Sexagenarians. All the 17 men identified, were working in the community. Some of them were employees of FOCUS, a security firm that hires security guards. The child has identified Ravi, a lift-operator in the apartment premises as the first person to abuse her. Ravi would take the girl away as soon as she gets back from school. He took her to various secluded places in the community including gym, basement, public washroom where she was sedated and raped for around 7 months. The other 16 men joined Ravi one day after another to brutalize this little girl. Since most of the flats in the apartments remained untenanted, these convicts were never caught in public eye.

The Menace

Ravi, the primary offender continued taking the girl to isolated areas in the society where she was sedated with drugged soft drinks and powders. Police have recovered used syringes and soft drink bottles for tests to classify the drug that they have used. Men’s ponging with alcohol abused the child while videotaping all incidents to threaten her. This menaced the child from informing her parents and friends. The convicts also threatened to kill the child if she told about the abuses to anyone. They have used knives to silence her. After months of living with these abuses and pains, the child opened up her situation to her sister, who has returned from Delhi. After hearing this her panicked mother rushed her to a private hospital from where she was shifted to Kilpauk government hospital. A medical examination was done for the girl on 20th July by the medical team directed by Dr. K.L. Malarvizhi, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The girl’s mother has straightaway reported this incident to the police. Three of the 17 men arrested confessed to the crime.

Protests by the barristers

The girl has identified all the accused men. All of them has been charged under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. No lawyers came forward to represent the convicts in the court. Lawyers at the Additional City Civil Court in Chennai assailed the 17 accused as they were brought out of the court hall. A board of advocates under District Legal Services Authority, Sheikh Mehrunisa, have launched a probe with the girl’s family. In their final report presented to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court the panel has cited several contradictory statements given by the girl’s mother and sister, yet experts have stated that trauma can drive a person to react inversely. However, the girl’s father has refused any direct interrogation with the child and has also snubbed the counselling sessions offered. The arrested suspects have been sent to judicial custody until July 31.

Revisions to Endorse Justice

The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018 amends Indian Penal Code (section 376),  Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act. This ordinance states stringent penal punishments to the convicts involved in rape which includes capital punishment for the convicts, if the victim below 12 years is gang-raped. With the amendments in CrPC the accused of a rape case cannot apply for an anticipatory bail and it also limits the case closure time to 3 months. With these changes being bought in the law, the convicts are sure to serve a rigorous punishment.

The fate of the appalled community

After the horrendous episode in their society, the home makers of the community in Ayanavaram, Chennai has taken over the security in the community. These residents could no longer trust any paid-workers.

Good Touch and the Bad Touch

New laws have been planted in our country to prevent these malicious acts, still the number of victims are cumulating with time. Rage rises as we hear awful deeds against women and children every day. Who is to be blamed? The callous convicts who have acted out of humanity or the innocent parents who have trusted the well-known faces in their society. The person in the position of grandfather has turned the girl’s fate around and has fed her the worst nightmares. The only solution is to fight back when such situation arises. The fears fed to the girl have given her the psychological maturity that kept her from sharing the incidents with her mother. Young people around the age of five to 12 should be educated about the difference between the decent and the evil. This education has to be implanted in young hearts because crime nowadays, doesn’t segregate victims by age. Moral studies, parental guidance are all simple solutions offered by the fellow humans, yet the rapport between the children and the parents should ensure that a child raises alert the moment he/she senses a bad touch. Let it be brother, cousin or a trusted good friend, any bad intention should be reported immediately.

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