The first impression one gets at looking at the surroundings of the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC) home and the nearby shopping complex is that this is a place where a transgression was waiting to happen.

This is where the two hapless girls from the home were raped on Wednesday night.

The girls were residents of the Church-run home for children, where totally 17 boys and three girls were staying.

After the rape, the Pollachi Police had sealed the home and sent the children to another home in Coimbatore.

The home, which is at least 50 years old, is within the church compound on the north-eastern side. East of the home is a line of dilapidated buildings, which once housed wardens' room, toilets, mess and office that have seen better times.

On the northern side of the dilapidated buildings is the church's shopping complex.

Dilapidated buildings

The Pollachi police said that the accused could have used the gap between the southern side of the complex and the dilapidated buildings to enter the home premises.

The incident happened long after the shops in the shopping complex had closed for the day.

The closure of shops, the absence of lights from the shops and the thick foliage of trees that abut the Pollachi-Coimbatore Road provided the perfect cover for the accused to sneak through the gap to access the Home.

The dark surroundings also provided the seamy cover for anti-social elements and liquor addicts, who frequented the place. Every day people gathered there in groups to consume liquor, said R. Kamalaveni, who runs a snack stall a few yards away from where the girls were raped.

Concurring with her version, paan stall owner H. Pramod, who is from Uttar Pradesh, said that it was a place where such a crime was waiting to happen. People running these small businesses nearby are still shell-shocked that such an incident happened in their area.

But still it did, defying all canons of rationality.

In the home's vicinity things are only marginally better in that there are a few streetlights but not enough to provide good lighting. Fully grown trees with thick foliage only add to the poor visibility.

The lack of facilities only complements the poor infrastructure in the home.

There are no proper toilet facilities for the children, who were forced to walk in the darkness around the dilapidated buildings.

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