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10-yr-old rape victim’s father pleads in Chandigarh: ‘Please save us from the media’

An official of the social welfare department said, “He started weeping in front of me, asking if we could stop the media from approaching his family. He told me that the media have turned his life into a living hell.”

punjab Updated: Jul 27, 2017 11:09 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
family,Chandigarh,media
The father said that he did not seek any help, but freedom from media glare.(HT Representative Image)

It is a ‘Peepli Live’ situation at the house where the 10-year-old rape survivor lives with her parents in the servant quarters. The father is coping with his daughter’s rape and eight-month pregnancy, and yet he finds himself faced with a barrage of “insensitive” questions from the media.

In such a situation, the girl’s father was forced to approach the director of social welfare in Chandigarh, with a simple plea, ‘Please save us from the media’.

The case so far
  • July 14: 10-year-old girl complains of stomach ache; it turns out she is nearly eight months’ pregnant
  • July 15: Girl’s maternal uncle, who allegedly raped her repeatedly over seven months, sent to police custody; family moves application for termination of pregnancy
  • July 18: Local court rejects the plea, citing the 20-week legal ceiling
  • July 20: A Delhi-based lawyer files a PIL in Supreme Court
  • July 24: The apex court asks the PGIMER, Chandigarh, to examine the girl to ascertain if her 30-week pregnancy can be terminated
  • July 26: Eight-member panel formed by the PGIMER carries out the examination from 9:30am to 1pm, submits the medical report in a sealed envelop to the authorities
  • July 28: The SC to take up the case

An official of the social welfare department said, “He started weeping in front of me, asking if we could stop the media from approaching his family. He told me that the media have turned his life into a living hell.”

He added that the father did not seek any help, but freedom from media glare.

He further said the father told them that journalists were entering the house using fake identities, posing as people from NGOs, legal cell, social welfare department or child rights commission.

“The father told us, ‘Reporters lie. They visit our house saying they are from an NGO and want to help the child. We trusted them and shared our pain with them. But they breach our trust. They note down all personal information, which we see published in newspapers the next day’,” added the official.

The area where the family resides has become a hot spot for journalists and the neighbourhood has no love lost for them. They have openly displayed their disgust at the prying eyes of the media and there is a deep sense of distrust and resentment towards news organisations.

Another social worker said, “On Monday, the situation got worse when some news channels stationed their vans outside the house and tried to interview the family.”

A police officer said a journalist even posed as a cop and tried to interview the child. “Luckily, the investigating officer was present there and the reporter was stopped,” he added.

No end to woes

“The father told us, ‘Reporters lie. They visit our house saying they are from an NGO and want to help the child. We trusted them and shared our pain with them. But they breach our trust. They note down all personal information, which we see published in newspapers the next day,” a social welfare department official said.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 10:05 IST