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Friday, June 2, 2023

16 year old Hindu girl raped by Muslim step father and forced to sell embryos

In a shockingly inhumane incident, a 16 year old girl was raped for five years and forced to sell embryos on Tamil Nadu. She has been facing sexual abuse since she was a 12 year old from the moment she attained puberty.

The 16 year old Hindu girl, a resident of Erode, TN, complained of sexual abuse with the help of her relatives. Only during the investigations shocking details about the exploitation were revealed. In a video of the girl’s confessions shared by TN BJP chief K Annamalai, the girl said that she is being sexually abused by Syed Ali, her step father, since she attained puberty as a 12 year old. It is unclear whether her mother Indrani remarried or was in a live-in relationship with the man, but the girl calls him “father”.

The girl was raped by Syed Ali repeatedly and when she told her mother about she asked her to keep quiet saying they cannot do anything about it. She was also physically abused when she refused to complain and whenever she tried to escape by going to her friends’ relatives’ house Syed Ali would find her and bring her back.

The girl revealed in the video that she has “donated” embryos 8 times since she attained puberty. She was taken to different cities in TN and at times to neighbouring states as well to extract the eggs. During police investigation it was revealed the victim’s Aadhar credentials were tampered with to show her as a 22 year old major so as to “donate” embryos. One John has been arrested in this regard for making a fake Aadhar card.

“The woman allowed her paramour to sexually assault the girl after she attained puberty at the age of 12 in 2017 so that an embryo could form in her uterus. Helped by an agent, the two sold embryos to various hospitals in Erode, Salem, Perundurai and Hosur. To avoid age-related legal issues, they created an Aadhaar card mentioning the girl’s age as 22. The accused earned Rs 20,000 through each sale and the agent, Malathi,  got Rs 5,000 as commission,” police told TNIE.

Indrani, Syed Ali, John and an agent Malathi have been arrested so far. The TN government has formed a committee to probe the issue and investigate the role of private hospitals and fertility centres. However it has been only focusing on the embryo sale racket part and no details about the victim and the identity of the assaulter are revealed much. The issue does bring attention to the illegal practices of surrogacy in the medical field, yet equal importance should have been given to the role of the girl’s mother and Syed Ali as well.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 passed in the Loksabha lays out the conditions for donation of oocytes for surrogacy. It says only females between 23 and 35 years of age can undergo the process. Apart from that an oocyte donor should be a married woman having at least one living child of her own and can donate oocytes only once in her life, and not more than seven oocytes can be retrieved from her. But the 16 year old victim was subjected to the process 8 times. 

While the bill talks about oocytes, the media reports say that she was made to sell embryos. At a time when ex-BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma is facing rape and death threats for merely stating that Muhammad had married a 6 year old girl and consummated it when she was 9 years old, such an incident escaping media scrutiny can be termed only as suppression of news.

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