Delhi blind kids were in awe of British ‘uncle’, kept quiet about ‘sexual abuse’
Many visually impaired children at National Association for the Blind in Delhi come from remote areas of India. The parents of the three victims couldn’t even immediately reach their children as they did not have enough money to traveldelhi Updated: Sep 06, 2017 13:38 IST
They could tell ‘good touch’ from ‘bad touch’ and knew that the man they considered a respectable figure was allegedly sexually assaulting them.
But the minors, inmates of National Association for the Blind, did not tell anybody about it because they were in awe of the accused, NAB general secretary Prashant Ranjan Verma told Hindustan Times on Tuesday. They called him uncle who often got them books and study material.
Murray Dennis Ward, a British man, taught communication skills to the children on Saturday. His crimes would have gone unreported if an NAB staffer had not caught him in the act. The staffer first recorded the act for a few seconds, as evidence, and then alerted the authorities.
Ward was arrested on Sunday from his flat in Vasant Kunj Enclave.
All his three victims belong to poor families and have come from remote corners of the country. “The parents of these boys are yet to reach Delhi since they had to raise money to buy train tickets,” said a senior NAB staff member.
Throughout Tuesday, the children remained with the police and counsellors, who tried to ascertain if the victims had been abused in the past too. Ward had been visiting the NAB centre in RK Puram for the last eight years, raising suspicions that he may have been abusing children for long.
After the row emerged on Sunday, NAB barred the entry of volunteers and parents into the hostels. “We will set up special gates near dormitories to restrict entry. We will also have to rethink if even well-meaning volunteers should be allowed into the classrooms,” said Verma.
While the NAB officials are in shock, a few kilometres away in Vasant Kunj Enclave residents are in disbelief on learning about the allegations against Ward. They saw Ward as a “calm and peaceful man” who was mostly immersed in his laptop and mobile phone.
“He (Ward) lived with a young Indian man whom he would refer to as his son. We could not interact much with him because of the language barrier, but we still cannot believe he abused children,” said Amarnath, caretaker of the apartment building where Ward lived since February.
Having suffered a paralytic attack earlier this year, Ward is still receiving treatment for an affected hand. “He could not even more around on his own. Two policemen had to help him get into the van on Sunday afternoon,” said Gul Mohammad, a resident.
Belonging to Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom, Ward had been working with a multinational company in Gurgaon at an annual salary of Rs 1.5 crore until paralysis forced him to quit the job in April. His wife and children live in the UK.
First Published: Sep 06, 2017 11:20 IST