Police intensify probe into ‘abuse’ of Assamese girl

The Ernakulam Rural police have intensified probe into the incident in which a little girl from Assam ended up at the Institute of Child Health (ICH) of the Kottayam Medical College with serious injuries.

Recently, medical experts had designated her as a “battered child”, defined as a child subjected to abuse by adult caregiver.

The District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural) has drawn up a special investigation team (SIT) by roping in the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Muvattupuzha.

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 in the intestine.

A medical board on Monday had concluded that she was a battered child but left the question of whether sexual abuse was involved to the police. “We will be finalising the medical board report in a day or two after the examination of the child by a gastroenterologist,” said ICH sources.

The police have 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.

The child continues to convalesce in the intensive care unit, and her condition has improved.

The ICH 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 on to a broken cycle split by the middle. However, medical sources who 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 the 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-year-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 9, 2021 8:33:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/police-intensify-probe-into-abuse-of-assamese-girl/article34330988.ece

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