A 14-year-old girl who had allegedly eloped with a 23-year-old man was united with her family on Monday.
The duo was missing since January 4 and was found in Rajajipuram on January 6, police said, adding volunteers of child helpline 1098 were called to deal with the minor girl.
The girl was sent for medical examination while the man was retained, police said.
Childline sources said the duo was having an affair and the man was a neighbour of the girl.
Meanwhile, police have framed charges against the man according to the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) as medical examination of the girl indicated sexual exploitation.
Childline volunteer Ajeet said, “The girl had to live in hospital for a few days as her medical examination got delayed. That is why she was not allowed to go home earlier. But finally after the medical examination, she has been united with her family.” The family members of the girl, however, alleged that the police were unaware about the provisions of the POCSO act and deliberately delayed to give them the custody of the girl.
“They refused to allow us to take the girl even as she was a minor. Delay in medical examination was another trauma for the girl and all of us,” a family member said.
Childline volunteers also said the ignorance of police about laws and institutions for children was a major problem in handling such cases.
“At many police stations, officers and constables seem to be unaware about the laws for children and in many cases they do not know how to deal with the minors who are victims or accused,” said a Childline volunteer.