ICH affirms Assamese child’s status as ‘battered’

The Institute of Child Health (ICH) of the Kottayam Medical College where a three-and-a-half-year-old Assamese child was admitted with grievous injuries akin to physical abuse has handed over to the police a report of the medical board affirming her status as a “battered child” on Saturday.

A battered child is defined as a child subjected to abuse by an adult caregiver. The District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural) has drawn up a special investigation team by roping in the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Muvattupuzha, to probe the incident.

The girl was admitted to the surgical wing of the ICH with multiple injuries, including fractures to a leg, hand, ribs, and skull and was subjected to an emergency abdominal surgery, which revealed a wound to the intestine.

A medical board that met on Monday had concluded that she was a battered child but left the question of whether sexual abuse was involved to the police. The gastroenterologist who was supposed to examine her has postponed the process for the girl to heal her wounds, said ICH sources.

The police had sought a detailed report from the medical board and are also planning to record the statements of the child’s parents afresh. Probe is also under way into the frequent visitors to their rented home at Perumattom in Muvattupuzha.

ICH sources had found the lacerations just above the vagina as indicative of possible unnatural sex though the hymen was found intact.

The hypothesis by the police was that the child sustained the injuries from a fall she had from the window onto a broken cycle split by the middle. However, medical sources that examined the cycle seized by the police found the injuries incompatible with the cycle in question.

During interactions a psychologist proficient in Assamese allotted by Childline had with the victim, she stuck to the version of accidental fall on three occasions, said Muvattupuzha police sources. They recorded her statement before the magistrate as well.

The police had invoked charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act after the doctor treating the child flagged that the kind of injury found on her backside could also have been caused by sexual abuse among other things.

Though the police said she was nearly five years old, a scientific bone examination pegged her age at only three and a half years. She was taken to a private hospital last month after she complained of abdominal pain. From there she was referred to the ICH after her condition was found complicated.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:45:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ich-affirms-assamese-childs-status-as-battered/article34346283.ece

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