Minor girl in state-run home repeatedly raped by superintendent in Andhra’s Tirupati
A 16-year-old inmate of a state-run home for girls in Tirupati town of Andhra Pradesh was allegedly raped by its superintendent for four years, police have said.
The home’s superintendent Batyala Nandagopal has been booked under the section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 3 r/w 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, on charges of rape and subjecting a minor girl to sexual abuse.
Tirupati (urban) superintendent of police KKN Amburajan said while speaking to the Hindustan Times on Thursday that they have initiated an investigation into the case. The victim was taken for a medical examination to the Rayalaseema Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Kadapa.
Nandagopal, who has been the superintendent of the home that shelters 150 girls in between the age of six and 18 for over a decade, denied all charges and said he suspected a conspiracy behind the allegations.
The sexual abuse of the victim came to the fore when she was transferred from the Tirupati home to another in Kadapa district on October 27. The mandatory recording of statement by the Kadapa district child welfare committee (CWC) chairperson Sivakamini after the intervention of district judge G Srinivasa Rao has reportedly unfolded the girl’s rape.
The victim reportedly complained to the CWC chairperson that she was subjected to rape several times over a period of three to four years by the superintendent.
“He called me to his office at home late at night quite often and forced himself upon me. When I would resist, he would beat me and threaten to kill me,” she told the CWC chairperson.
The girl was left in the care of the state-run home in Kadapa when she was 12 after her mother died as her father is serving a jail term. She was sent to the Tirupati home for higher studies after completing her upper primary schooling in Kadapa.
Sivakamini, quoting the victim, said Nandagopal was also accused of molesting several other girls in the home in a similar manner and offering them unripe papaya fruit as a precautionary measure against conception.
The girl reportedly made several attempts to run away from the home. She reportedly told Sivakamini that the superintendent and his deputies in the home had even conspired to kill her in an apparent bid to hush up the crime.
She said she appealed to senior officials to send her to the home in Kadapa district.
This is not the first time the girl has been raped.
Anantapur district child protection officer (DCPO) Subramanayam said the girl ran away from the home at Kadapa in 2014 shortly after her admission and ended up in a railway station at Guntakal. A middle-aged man took her to his house and raped her repeatedly for several days.
Subramanayam said the district administration had provided her with temporary shelter at Balasadan, a state-run rescue home, in Ananthapur after she was raped. The Anantapur CWC referred the girl back to the home in Kadapa later.
Child rights activist Achtuta Rao said posting of a male superintendent in the home for girls is in violation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Rao demanded action against the top brass in the women and child welfare department for posting male officers in a home for girls.
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