CHENNAI/THENI: Five men have been arrested in the last 24 hours on charges of sexually assaulting or raping minor girls. The crimes, coming to light couple of days after a two-year-old child was raped and murdered in Coimbatore allegedly by her uncle, and within a fortnight of two women being attacked in full public view over failed romantic relationships, raise serious questions about the safety of young women and children.
On Thursday, a four-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Thirumullaivoyal. Her body was recovered from a bucket inside the bathroom of her house, wrapped in a plastic bag. Police have arrested her neighbour, an ex-serviceman for the crime. Officers say the child was playing in her house when the neighbour, who also happens to be a distant relative, lured her into his house.
“Suspect KV Meenatchi Sundaram’s wife was in the house, but claimed she was on the first floor and failed to notice him with the girl. He gagged and raped the girl in his bedroom,” the officer said.
“As the victim’s mother had gone to drop her son at a tuition centre in the next street, she had left the girl alone. Investigation revealed that the suspect shared a common compound wall with the girl’s family. They also had a common gate by which they could enter each other’s premises. During investigation, police found a piece of bangle and earring in the suspect’s bedroom, following which he was detained. After post-mortem, the girl’s body was handed over to the family on Friday.
In four other cases, the victims were teenage girls. A 17-year-old girl from Andipatti contacted the Child
Welfare Committee saying her parents had fixed her marriage with a 27-year-old man, who had taken her to several places and sexually abused her.
The Class XII girl reported the matter to her parents, but as they refused to act, she reached out to officials.
Based on her complaint, the department officials alerted Andipatti all-women police station, who booked him under the POCSO Act.
In Chennai, Karunakaran (24), who is wanted in two murder cases, was arrested for allegedly molesting a 16-year-old girl. “He had gone to his relative’s house where he sexually assaulted the girl and threatened to murder her parents if she told anyone about the incident,” said a police officer. The incident happened on June 12. In another incident, 55-year-old Naseer from Tindivanam was arrested for allegedly molesting a Class XII girl. She had gone to attend a marriage, where the suspect lured her to an isolated spot in the marriage hall and abused her. He was booked under the POCSO Act and arrested.
Finally, a 27-year-old man was arrested for molesting his neighbour, a Class XII student. The alleged incident took place on Wednesday when the girl was alone as her parents had gone to attend a marriage. The incident came to light on Thursday after the girl narrated the incident to her mother.
In all the above cases, the suspects were relatives, friends or neighbours of the victims. The National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 data shows that in a whopping 94.6 per cent of rape and sexual abuse cases, the accused is known to the victim.