A case has been filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act

A seven-year-old girl, dressed in a shiny frock and curled up on a corner bed in Tiruchi GH, has become the pet of patients, attendants and policewomen in Ward 500.

This daughter of a poor couple from Khajapettai was sexually assaulted by a neighbour on Saturday.

Dressing her in clothes borrowed from the daughter of a police constable, the girl’s mother, a construction labourer, is determined to bring her daughter’s assailant to justice.

“It is only today that she hasn’t complained of pain and discomfort,” the mother told The-Hindu. “I have only one daughter and her future is important to me. Just because we are poor, doesn’t mean I can be silenced,” she added. The mother said she would petition the District Collector to see that the perpetrator was brought to justice. The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) has sought financial relief for the child, said Vairamani, the association’s district president.

GH plays catch-up

The child is being treated in an air-conditioned ward, with her treatment expenses being covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. The hospital has played catch-up after neglecting the girl on the day she was admitted, is the sentiment amongst women activists.

“When we admitted her on Saturday evening, they laid her on the verandah of the labour ward till Sunday night,” said Banu, the girl’s aunt. “She was not given any medical attention. They demanded proof that the girl was molested.”

According to Ayesha, secretary, AIDWA, the girl was given medicines only after the AIDWA staged a protest demanding proper patient care. “When we visited the hospital on Sunday evening, the child was sprawled on the floor,” she said.

There were no external injuries and the child’s parents had washed the girl and changed the clothes before she was brought to the hospital, said hospital dean A. Karthikeyan, adding the hospital had treated the patient well.

The girl was assaulted at her house, when her mother went the bathroom, situated quite a distance from the house. “When I returned, she did not tell me what happened, though she complained of discomfort and difficulty in walking. It was only after some time, the girl described what had occurred. A medical report stating whether the girl was subjected to sexual assault would be submitted in court, said Dean Dr. Karthikeyan. For the first time, a case has been filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, according to the inspector at the Fort All Women’s police station. Maximum punishment would be sought for the accused who was arrested as enquiries revealed a strong case against him.

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