Arunachal Pradesh court hands over minor rape victim to relative of accused

State child rights panel has taken note of the case of the girl from Nepal that it said could set a bad precedent.

Updated - June 27, 2021 08:38 pm IST

Published - June 27, 2021 06:31 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

The Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR) has taken a “grim note” of the decision of a local court to hand over a minor rape victim to her “local guardian” who happens to be a relative of the accused.

The APSCPCR has also flagged the alleged refusal of the district court in Lohit district’s Tezu to let a member of the local Child Care Institute (CCI) in while hearing the girl, a possible victim of child trafficking from Nepal. The girl worked as domestic help at Roing, the headquarters of the adjoining Lower Dibang Valley district.

“One of our members will be visiting Roing within two days to make an assessment of how the case has been handled. The decision of the court a few days ago could set a bad precedent without taking into consideration the trauma the victim of sexual abuse has to undergo,” APSCPCR Chairperson Gumri Ringu told The Hindu from State capital Itanagar.

“The court’s judgement is questionable, particularly because the CCI member or any caretaker of the girl was not allowed in during the hearing,” she said.

The APSCPCR has also taken up the issue with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights since the girl is a Nepalese national.

Lower Dibang Valley’s Superintendent of Police J.K. Lego said he has written to the APSCPCR to take up the issue at the embassy level since the girl is from another country. “My responsibility is to see that the case is disposed of judiciously. We are awaiting instructions from the authorities concerned,” he said.

The girl, less than 15 years old, was reported missing on March 2. The case took a turn when she told the police that she had been subjected to sexual abuse by her employer, following which the district Child Welfare Committee put her at the CCI.

The accused was arrested and a charge sheet was filed against him on April 20. But he was out on bail later.

Mr. Lego said the girl was brought to India from Nepal when she very small and worked in the house of one Aka Kalung. She had described her sexual abuse in graphic detail, he said.

CCI chairperson Desai Linggi told journalists the traumatised child has been subjected to continuous harassment by the local court as well as the family of the accused. “Our member was not allowed to be in the court during the hearing despite the Juvenile Justice Act and Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure saying otherwise,” she said.

The sessions court directed the CCI to hand over the victim to a woman, identified as the girl’s local guardian. The woman turned out to be the sister-in-law of the accused.

The court also observed: “The said victim child who is having a biological father and a local guardian cannot be treated as a child who needs care and protection. Hence, the child be handed over by the CCI.”

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