Tirur incident shocks the conscience of Kerala society

The sexual assault on a three-year-old child of a vagabond family at Tirur on Tuesday has brought to sharp focus the safety of dozens of such homeless families in different parts of the State. Most vagabond families living in towns across the State spend their nights on the verandas of commercial buildings, bus-stands, and railway stations.

The police said sexual aggressions against women sleeping on verandas were nothing new. Few cases get reported as the frightened women and their families choose not to. The police said they intervened whenever they noticed aggressions against sleeping vagabonds.

Cruelty, brutality

Childline officials and the police said the kind of attack that took place at Tirur was ‘unheard of in recent memory.’ They said the cruelty and brutality of the act was visible from the fact that the child could not sit or lie properly.

‘‘We have been dealing with various kinds of sexual abuses on children. But this one is unique. I never saw such a brutal and savage act against an innocent child before. The child has suffered many other internal and external injuries as well,’’ said N. Babu, Childline support coordinator.

The child, while sleeping along with its mother on the veranda of a shop, was taken away by the assailants and abandoned on the road after committing sodomy on it.

The incident has startled the people, including the police and social workers. They have advised the people living on the street to be more vigilant.

Keeping guard

Most vagabond families, especially those having grown-up children, who spend their nights on verandas and makeshift tents usually take turns when they sleep. When their children sleep, either mother or father remains awake and keeps guard.

‘‘In the case of Tirur, the woman must have slept because the child was so small. And how can we imagine a man having sex with a three-year-old child,’’ said a Childline official.

Childline officials said they would intensify awareness programmes against child abuses not only in the district but across the State as well.

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