Nirbhaya inmate alleges sexual assault at parental home

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a serious lapse on part of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR), a minor girl, who is a survivor in sexual case and a Nirbhaya inmate was forced to go with relatives against her wish and was abused again.
On May 16, 2018, the father of the 17-year-old Nirbhaya inmate sought permission to take the girl along stating that her presence was needed at the marriage of her elder sister.

The girl has now given a statement that she was abused on May 18 by the same person who tormented her before. Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society (KMSS) director and Nirbhaya home manager P E Usha said that she had filed a complaint with based on the girl’s statement.

Nirbhaya authorities initially refused permission to take the girl home since she was abused by her mother’s , a wealthy planter. Her mother is the second accused in the case registered under .

The girl’s father, allegedly in an inebriated state, created a scene at the shelter home and the girl refused to go with him. The permission was allegedly given after Fr Joy James, chairperson of CWC, Thiruvananthapuram, and Sr Biji Jose, a member of KeSCPCR intervened, sources said. Sources said Biji called up the Nirbhaya home manager through the mobile phone of the girl’s father.

Fr James said the decision to release the child was a collective decision of CWC. “An abused child too has a right to attend the marriage of her sister. I acted within the framework of law,” he said.

When asked whether it is not the responsibility of CWC to ensure her safety as the girl was being taken to a space where she was abused before, Fr James said it is impossible to protect all vulnerable children by retaining them in a shelter home.

Mundakkayam police said a case has been registered under IPC sections 354, 456, 452 and Pocso sections 7, 8 and 17. The main accused is absconding. The police took the victim’s statement on June 8 and she is back in Nirbhaya shelter in a traumatic state.

A member of district legal services authority has now filed an appeal in the district court challenging the order of CWC, Thiruvananthapuram, on May 16, 2018. The petition, which has Fr James Joyce and Biji Jose as respondents, challenges CWC order entrusting the child’s custody to her parents continuously for a period of seven days without considering her vulnerability.

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