South Delhi ‘rapist’: A quiet man who liked playing ludo
The 45-year-old school sweeper, who was nabbed on Thursday for raping a five-year-old school girl, usually kept to himself and was quiet by nature, claimed residents of a south Delhi slum, where the man lives with his family.
“We’ve seen him around while growing up and our families have known each other for 30 years now,” said Palani Muthu, a salesman, who lives next to the house of the suspect. “We could not believe that he was up to such acts. He has grandchildren of his own.”
The alleged rapist lived with his wife and son in an approximately 6 X 8 ft room. With three married daughters, the accused has nine grandchildren, the eldest of whom is 14-years-old.
Pointing towards her five-year-old daughter, the man’s eldest daughter said, “These are his grandchildren. They are saying he assaulted a child of her age. How is it possible?”
Other locals said that the man was not fluent in Hindi and mostly kept to himself. He was once a drinker but he had quit years ago. After school got over in the afternoon — he worked in the morning shift — he would mostly hang out with other locals in the slum, said a neighbour. Another neighbour added that he often spotted the man playing ludo in the bylanes of the slum.
Family members said that the man worked two jobs. He would start his day at 4am and travel to the DDA flats in Kalkaji and clean cars.
His son-in-law said they do not know how such a misfortune has suddenly befallen on their family. “ We are yet to come to terms with what we have heard. He was arrested by the police from the school itself. Like every other day, he had gone to school at around 6am. He hasn’t returned. I spoke to him on August 9. He denied any wrongdoing, ” the suspected rapist’s son-in-law said.
Meanwhile at the school, authorities too said that they were still coming to terms of the shocking case. Most parents that Hindustan Times spoke said they were unsure of what to say after learning of the incident. Over the past few days the school authorities have had to deal with many phone calls from parents and former school students.
“We are hearing a lot of rumours. We have our school WhatsApp groups. There are rumours of the child’s medical condition. There are rumours of the alleged accused getting away with the crime. We are contacting everyone and dispelling the rumours,” an official at the school said.
The school management has contacted counsellers and offered to help children and parents. “We are extending all possible help to the family members, investigating authorities. We want to assure all parents that the school is committed towards providing a safe and secure environment to our students in all possible ways,” said a school official, adding that the school conducts background check of each and every staff (teaching/non-teaching) before hiring.