A heinous case that disgraces fatherhood has come to light in Kerala. A local madarsa teacher from Kasargod has been accused of repeatedly raping his underage daughter since the past three years. The ordeal started when the victim was studying in eight class. The poor girl became pregnant as a result of rape and was forced to get an abortion. This incident happened at a place called Thaikadappuram near Nileshwaram in Kasargod district of North Kerala.
The scandal has shocked the whole area. It is being reported that the mother too was complicit in the crime and a case has been registered against her too. The 16 year old girl was also sexually assaulted by at least five others of whom three have been arrested along with the father of the young girl. Two other accused are on the run.
The scandal came to light when the child of the madarsa (aka madrasa) teacher herself approached the CHILDLINE service run by central government. It is to note that the number 1098(Ten-Nine-Eight) is a toll free number of the service that is available all over Bharat for children in need of aid and assistance. Childline in turn informed the police and the child registered a complaint under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Reportedly, around two months ago the victim became pregnant. It is reported that the madarsa teacher and his wife took her to a hospital in Manjeshwaram and got the child aborted. Questions still remain as to why the hospital authorities did not intimate the authorities immediately as it was clearly a case of statutory rape. As readers are aware, the age of consent in Bharat is 18 years, which means any sexual activity irrespective of presence of consent with a woman below the age of 18 will constitute statutory rape.
The child`s uncle (mother`s brother) came to know about the whole issue after the abortion and helped the girl lodge the complaint. It is reported that the victim also alleged that her parents had coerced her into having sex with others. Upon receipt of the complaint, the police took action and arrested the father along Riyaz and Mohammad Ali of Nileshwaram and a Poonjavi native Ijaz.
The child is now under the care of her uncle. All the arrested, charged under the POCSO Act, have been remanded to judicial custody. The madarsa teacher and the child`s father is a native of Sullia near the Kerala Karnataka border. He also has other POCSO cases registered against him and was apparently out on bail when he assaulted his own daughter.
Readers may remember another recent POCSO case from Kerala involving activist Rehana Fathima. The feminist activist who had previously participated in 2014 “Kiss of Love” protests, had also posted her obscene photos after dressing up like devotees of Ayappa and had to spend a few days in jail for hurting religious feelings. She had also unsuccessfully tried to enter Sabarimala. In a video on YouTube, posted in June 2020, under the title ‘Body and Politics’, her underage son and daughter were seen painting on her nude body. She was accordingly booked under POCSO Act.
It is to note that there were around 7600 POCSO cases pending in Kerala as of 31st March 2020. The CM along with Chief Justice of Kerala High Court had this month inaugurated 17 online POCSO courts as per Supreme Court directives. Nine more courts are expected to be established in future.
However, convictions are rare in POCSO cases as the cases far outnumber capacity of the established courts. More than two thousand cases are reported every year under POCSO in Kerala. According to Kerala Police data, the biggest contributor to these cases is the Muslim dominated Malappuram district. It must, however, be noted that many a times such cases are filed to settle personal or political scores as also noted by the High Court of Kerala.
The latest horror from Kerala has very few parallels. It is especially horrific as the mother was also complicit in the crime. How to deal with such crimes and how to stop these remains an open question.
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