Administrators of a Christian home in Madurai, Tamil Nadu have been booked for hiding information about rape of a mentally unstable woman. 67 year old employee of the home has been arrested for raping the woman repeatedly and impregnating her.
Christian Seva Sangam Trust runs a home for elderly people in Madurai. 35 women and 3 men are said to reside here and pay Rs.1500 as monthly fee. A 40 year old mentally unstable woman who had lost both her parents was admitted in the home by her only brother and maternal uncle 3 years ago.
Her brother worked in hotels to pay her monthly fee and the uncle also helped in taking care of her. She was taken home only for Pongal and on the death anniversary of her parents. Last week they received a call from the home asking them to take her home. They were told by Rajasekhar, the chief of the home, that she had taken ill. He alleged that she cannot digest food and her belly keeps bloating.
The victim’s brother and uncle took her home. Their womenfolk advised them to take her to a hospital as it didn’t look like a bloated stomach. When the doctor examined her it was confirmed that she was 9 months pregnant. On being enquired about the reason behind her pregnancy she pointed her fingers at her maternal uncle.
It came as a shock as the uncle took care of the woman like his own daughter. Police arrested him despite his denial. But police women thought that the due date and when she was taken home by her uncle didn’t work out. So the police went to the home and inquired about the employees. They came to know that Jeeva Nesan, a 67 year old employee, was recently terminated.
Upon further inquiry they found that it was Jeeva Nesan who raped the woman. He used to assure other employees and the administration that he would take care of the woman. On that pretext he took her to the garden in the premises of the home and raped her 7 times on different occasions. He is a divorcee and was working in a Catholic church. He was inducted in the home based on the recommendation from the church authorities.
Even though those who run the home including the chief Rajashekar knew about it, they hushed it up and sacked the rapist. They also instructed 4 of their employees to beat the woman and train her to accuse her uncle when someone asks about the growing belly. Police have booked 10 people of the management and 4 employees who tortured the victim.
As per the information provided by police, the home has been functioning without obtaining permission from the Social Welfare department. Even though inmates paid a fee, they weren’t given proper food and medical treatment which is why they didn’t know about the victim’s pregnancy in the initial stages.
In 2011 Christian Seva Sangam Trust was pulled up by the Income Tax department for misusing 80G exemption. The trust was given exemption under section 80G of the Income Tax Act in 2009. The trust appealed against the IT department’s decision to cancel the right for exemption. While hearing the case the court observed that “the Commissioner of Income-tax held that the religious expenditure of the trust exceeded 5% of its total income so also the trust has not maintained any books of account. The Commissioner of Income-tax, therefore, held that the assessee has violated the provisions of sec.80G(5)(vi) and is not entitled for exemption under sec.80G“.
Not paying heed to the nature of Christian Seva home and other such homes that operate with a religious background, the court said “It is not possible to say that carrying on of an old- age home is a religious activity. It is essentially a charitable activity, even though the activity may be carried on as part of religious and pious acts. Therefore, the finding of the Commissioner of Income-tax is both factually and legally unsustainable.”
Even though it was brought to the court’s notice that the home was operating without a license, it described it as a ‘technical lapse’ and let the trust and its administrators go scot free. While a common man is hounded for delaying renewal of a driving license by one day, those who are entrusted with the lives of mentally and physically ill people weren’t even admonished by the judiciary for the serious lapse. Whether or not such homes operate legally or illegally, their presence itself speaks of the decay in the society.
(Featured Image Source: Seithipunal)
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