She is a 14-year-old deaf and dumb rape victim, who is five months pregnant. These words describe a devastated childhood of a destitute girl who, like others her age, wishes to play and go to school.
But as fate would have it, the victim went through such horrors of human existence in such a tender age. She was allegedly raped by a 45-year-old labour contractor and has since been forced her to remain inside a one-room rented accommodation in a village, 15 km from district headquarters.
Meanwhile, the girl, who needs immediate best health care, being on a high-risk pregnancy, has got no aid on part of the administration or the health department. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has to ensure the victim’s care and safety. The police should inform the district legal service authority (DLSA) to make arrangements for financial assistance to the victim as per the procedure under POCSO.
However, if the committee does not receive any details of such a case from the police, it can take suo-moto notice of media reports and act accordingly. The committee can also recommend relief funds after getting a report on the case from the police and arrange education and counseling for the victim.
Further, the health department has no information the minor’s pregnant and hence, no health check-up and other examination have been conducted so far.
District family and welfare officer Dr Gurmeet Kaur Duggal said that if the pregnancy is more than 20 weeks, it cannot be terminated. She said that a team would be sent to the village and required tests would be carried out to start treatment as it is a high-risk pregnancy.
The migrant parents got to know about the sexual assault on their daughter only when their elder married daughter came to meet them and asked the parents to take the victim to the hospital, as the parents were hardly noticed the pregnancy.
The residents informed Nakodar police which, with the help of experts and family got to know about the accused and arrested him immediately and sent him to jail after registering a case under Sections 376 (rape) and 3, 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 on April 27.
HT visited the village and met the victim, who was clearly in a mental trauma. As per her father, she keeps lying in her folding bed most of the time and looks outside.
Her 45-year-old father, who too was in distress, said, “I received many offers from the accused to settle the case. He offered money, adoption of the child, a piece of land, but I refused to bow down.” I want nothing less than a strict punishment for him, said the father.
He added, “I will be affectionate towards the new born child as he/she is not at fault and would not go for termination of pregnancy as it poses a risk to my daughter’s life.”
The villagers too are supportive and try and help the family in all respects.
Notably, nine rape cases involving minors have been registered this year in different police stations of Jalandhar rural police.