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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Serial predator Pastor rapes own daughter, police and state child rights body try to bury the case: M’rashtra

A shocking case of father raping his own daughter has come to fore in Maharashtra. A pastor not only raped his own daughter but let his brother do the same repeatedly as a result of which the girl became pregnant. Even more shockingly, police allegedly tried to help the rapists when the girl filed a complaint. The matter has reached the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) which has directed necessary actions to be taken against the cops for violating Juvenile Justice(JJ) Act.

NGO Legal Rights Observatory had tweeted about one pastor P J Sahu raping and impregnating his own daughter and police threatening the victim to withdraw the complaint. It had taken the issue to the cognizance of NCPCR and Maharashtra DGP. Later a complaint was filed against one policewoman M Patil who allegedly threatened the victim to withdraw the complaint. 

Opindia reported that Pramod Joginder Sahu(48) and his brother Gauri Shankar Sahu(44) have been sexually abusing the 15year old girl repeatedly. While Pramod lives with his wife and 5 children, including the victim, in Nalasopara, Vasai, his brother Gauri Shankar lives in Kandivali, Mumbai. 

The FIR copy shared by Opindia says that the girl was first raped on November 1 and was forcibly taken to their native in Bihar fearing that the girl would expose them. She escaped from there and informed her elder brother, who works at a jeans manufacturing unit, and he helped her file a complaint against the duo.

“Nobody was there at home. My stepmother had gone out for some work, my elder brother had gone to the jeans manufacturing company where he works, and my younger brothers had gone out to play. I took shower and as I came out of the bathroom, my father who was sitting in the drawing room grabbed me and forced me onto the floor in the kitchen. He then raped me. Later my Uncle who was sitting in the drawing room arrived and brutally assaulted me”, the girl told police.

Her uncle, Gauri Shankar arrived at their house after Deepavali and after he left her father raped her many times. As per the girl’s accounts he sexually abused her the day after Chaat Puja. Both men threatened her to not talk about it to anyone and that they would kill her brothers if she didn’t keep her mouth shut. They then took her to her aunt’s house in Thane where she told the latter about the abuse.

But her aunt also asked her to keep her mouth shut. The men raped her at the aunt’s house as well when the older woman was away. Then she was reportedly taken to their native house in Darbhanga to restrict her from talking about the abuse to anyone in the family. She was locked up in the house and forbidden from speaking to anyone.

However the girl managed to escape from there on November 24 and contacted her older brother. He brought her back to Maharashtra and gave her the Child line number(1098). After she informed Child line some members of the NGO arrived at her house and took her to be placed in a Child Care Institution (CCI) in Palghar. Meanwhile, API Manisha Patil of Mira Bhayandar police station in Vasai allegedly threatened and tortured the victim to make her withdraw the complaint.

Legal Rights Observatory filed a complaint against the policewoman for violation of Juvenile Justice Act and POCSO Act. Another complaint against Mahendra Waghmare, member of Child Welfare Committee, was sent to NCPCR for forcing the victim to withdraw the complaint against her father. Allegations of forcing the victim to undergo abortion have also been levelled against Vasai police. The matter has been taken to the cognizance of NCPCR which sent a team to investigate.

Opindia quotes local sources as saying that the Pramod Sahu was involved in another sexual abuse case in 2015. He was booked for sexually assaulting two minor boys in the area. Relatives of the boys had allegedly thrashed him and vandalised his garage following the incident. But he filed a counter case claiming that he was targeted because he was a Christian and put up a picture of Jesus in his workshop (Sahu is a welder). Nalasopara police had issued notice to another pastor Bhaskar Thambi who went with Sahu to the police station with a mob.

Police issued a notice to pastor Thambi for unlawful assembly, informing him that he would be arrested under section 149 if his ‘visit’ to the police station led to communal tension. Christian portal Morning Star News also reported about the incident, albeit in a much twisted manner, saying that Pramod Sahu had contacted The United Christian Forum for Human Rights(TUCFHR) through its helpline number alleging ‘persecution’.

There is some confusion about Pramod being a pastor owing to his name and lack of local sources. But from the Morning Star report we glean that he is indeed a pastor. The report describes Sahu as, “a Christian welder who oversees a home fellowship near Mumbai”. He told the portal that “Hindu extremists of Bajrang Dal threatened to kill him if he continued preaching and practicing his faith”. He also said that he was attacked again when he refused to worship Hindu deities.

Police said that Sahu refused to file a complaint. But he told media that police favoured Hindus and got the help of influential Christian organisations, like the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, to hype the issue. Opindia reported that local sources claim nearly 1500 people in the neighborhood have been converted to Christianity by Sahu. Even after NCPCR intervention, the accused still roam free.

Childline India Foundation (CIF) is the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development for setting up, managing and monitoring the CHILDLINE 1098 service all over the country. It works with NGOs in district level to coordinate their work. Most of the NGOs that Childline has tied up with are Christian NGOs. Child Welfare Committees, the district level units of NCPCR are also dominated by Christians and thus are biased in their reactions to abuse by Christian clergy.

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