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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

POCSO victim abused from age 7 faces death threat from madrasa teacher and other rapists: Malappuram, Kerala

A young POCSO victim in Malappuram has been living under threat to her life for the past many years. The minor girl alleged that the prime accused was a madrasa teacher who still trains young children even today. She was offered compensation in cash and kind but refused to withdraw her complaint, following which she was mentally and physically tortured. Authorities are deliberately delaying justice, she added. 

There are six accused in the case, and all of them are roaming scot-free. None are behind bars and freely mingle in society. They began molesting her when she was just seven. There is every possibility that the madrasa teacher who still holds the position is exploiting more children, she noted. 

Three of the accused are her relatives, one is the owner of the establishment where the child’s mother worked, and one is a neighbor. Sexual misconduct began at seven when she studied at her relative’s house. 

When the victim was in the seventh standard, she fell unconscious during the school assembly. This was when the incident became public. She was afraid to reveal her ordeal to the school management, but she reported it in writing. Instead of approaching the police, her teachers handed over the letter to her parents, who were divorced. It is unknown if it is the same school where the pedophile madrassa teacher who raped her teaches.  

Back then, the victim lived with her relatives, and most of her rapists were her relatives. The victim said that everyone supported the rapists, especially the madrassa teacher. Her relatives told her that since she was living at their expense, she would have to tolerate the rape! One rapist became two, and so it went on.

On 5 December 2018, local police registered a case against the accused four years after the rape began. Though the accused were remanded, they were released after the mandatory 90 days and began to continue their routine. The madrassa teacher rejoined the same school where he was teaching before and continues even today. 

There had already been two murder attempts on the young victim. When she was studying in 10th standard, the accused hit her with a lorry while she was on her way to school. She identified the accused in the vehicle. The impact injured her backbone, and the victim was bedridden for six months. Though she intimated the police, nothing happened. 

Again, on her way to school, on 17 October 2019, the accused arrived in a car without number plates and slashed her arms with a sharp weapon. Her school management and the victim complained to the police, but authorities claimed a ‘lack of evidence/witnesses’ and closed the case. The girl alleged that despite suffering so much, the issue has been dragging on for four years.

Until the second murder attempt happened, nobody knew the victim’s identity. This was when the local panchayat president revealed her identity to the public without her consent. The young victim was forced to move away to a new region. 

When she refused to back down, one accused promised her five lakhs rupees as compensation. Since her family was facing a financial crisis, her relatives advised revoking the complaint. Two accused have political influence, and some politicians acted as middlemen to settle the case. Later, they promised the POCSO victim Rs 25 lakh or to build a house and allot land in her name. She refused.  

Even after being released from jail on bail, the accused did not feel remorse.

“Everyone says the law is with the survivor, and the person should be ready to report the sexual harassment incidents. But from my personal experience, I realized that is not the case. There will be no one with us (victims),” she lamented. The young rape victim said she would continue fighting so that other minors do not face similar situations. 

There are three POSCO courts in Malappuram, yet this underage rape victim has yet to receive justice after almost a decade. Do Bharat’s constitution and rules not apply in Kerala, where pedophile rapist madrassa teachers, politicians without morals, spineless authorities, and their cronies appear to rule without any fear? The situation with regards to child sexual abuse is especially acute in Malappuram district.

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