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Cop and 10-year-old rape survivor, both pregnant, share a special bond

punjab Updated: Jul 28, 2017 17:38 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Rape,Child Rape,Crime against Children

The girl was raped allegedly by her maternal uncle, a hotel guard, repeatedly over seven months. (Representational Photo)

Like any chatty 10-year-old, she babbles away whenever assistant sub-inspector Pratibha is around, stopping occasionally to lick an ice cream or take a bite of a sweet that the officer brings her.

But for her baby bump, she is another happy girl.

She is a rape survivor and in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Her family has approached the Supreme Court to allow an abortion, but doctors say it’s too risky since the foetus is eight months old.

“She is a chatterbox and talks about everything from studies to favourite colours and food. She tells lovely stories,” said 28-year-old Pratibha, who too is expecting her first child this September.

The girl bonded instantly with Pratibha, the investigating officer, when they first met in mid-July. Their friendship grew in the following days.

A student of class 6, she stopped going to school after medical tests confirmed her pregnancy.

Pratibha makes it a point to visit her every day, but she won’t share with media any more than the quote she gave about the little girl. She brings treats and listens to her stories.

“My work is to ensure the child does not face any problem. It is my job and I am doing my duty,” she said on Thursday.

Ignoring her own condition, Pratibha worked round-the-clock when she was investigating the case after it became known on July 15. She put in about 16 hours a day to get the girl examined by doctors, produce the arrested suspect in court and complete official formalities.

“Her feet swelled up in first three days, but she was always here providing solace to the family,” a relative of the girl said.

The officer never talks about their nightmare. Instead, she offers them hope to lead a normal life.

“The child looks up to her visit and they both are seen chatting and playing. The air is filled with the innocent laughter of the child whenever she is around,” said another relative.

The rape and pregnancy of the girl was discovered when she was taken to hospital for a stomachache. The girl was raped allegedly by her maternal uncle, a hotel guard, repeatedly over seven months. He has been arrested.

The girl’s family is from Nepal. Her father is a watchman and the mother works as a domestic help in Chandigarh.

“The father always bows to touch the officer’s feet, though she has told him not to a number of times. But out of respect and humility, he continues to do so,” said the relative.

Pratibha has now become the family’s sole go-to person for advice. And she is happy to oblige, living up to Chandigarh police’s motto: We Care For You.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 18:26 IST