A man raping his daughter and forcing her into prostitution is the latest sex scandal to surface in Kerala, which is struggling to erase the stain of such crimes, mostly, involving the exploitation of minors.
The Paravur sex scandal, which came to light with the rescue of a minor last month, allegedly involves more than 100 people. The girl, now 17, was raped by her father, a part-time actor, three years ago. Later, he prostituted her.
Like in the infamous Suryanelli and ice-cream parlour sex scandals of the 90s, many influential people are allegedly involved in the Paravur (Ernakulam district) racket. Police have arrested 35 people, including the girl's parents, CPM leader Thomas Verghese (who has now been expelled by the party) and Singapore-based contractor Manikantan.
Deputy superintendent of police Biju Alexandar, the investigating officer in the case, said: "More arrests are likely. Initially, the man tried to push his daughter into films. When it failed, he started presenting her to many people."
The girl has told the police her father often hung her younger brother upside down from a fan and threatened to kill him if she refused to do his bidding.
She was rescued when one of her relatives alerted the police. Lodged in a rescue home in Ernakulam, the Class 11 student is undergoing treatment for depression. She wants to continue her education.
Chief minister Oommen Chandy said, "It is a shocking incident. None of her tormentors will go free."
When one of the accused moved court for bail on Saturday, the judge said such cases "freeze" human conscience.
"A rabbit trapped by hunting dogs," the court observed.