CHENNAI: A Class IX girl who was raped by her 45-year-old neighbour stayed quiet for five months as the rapist had threatened her. The crime came to light only on Wednesday as the foetus the girl was carrying got aborted after she took part in a dance competition in her school and suffered heavy bleeding.
Only after this, the 15-year-old told her sisters and doctors that the neighbour, who is a father of three girls elder than the victim, had dragged her into his house one afternoon in January and raped her after gagging her and tying her hands. The accused D Mari was arrested by the Chennai police on Wednesday and sent to prison.
“She was shocked on seeing her bleeding and kept asking what was the reason,” says the girl’s mother as she was sitting in front of the Government hospital’s labour ward on Thursday and trying hard to fight back her tears. The victim girl’s father had died about 10 months ago and her mother was making the ends meet by working as a sanitary worker. Both her elder sisters were married and settled in different parts of the city.
Recounting the incident, the girl had told her sisters that on the fateful afternoon she was playing hide-and-seek with other children in the congested locality with families from lower financial background.
Her sister told Express, “He had called her to come into his house. But she refused as she was playing with other children. While she was hiding as part of the game, the man clamped her mouth from behind and dragged her into his house. He then gagged her and tied her hands. He also increased the TV volume to avoid any sound reaching outside. Before letting her go, he had threatened her not to speak about the incident to anyone.”
As it was an afternoon most of the residents would be out to work, so none noticed the incident. The accused Mari was a doll maker and used to be in his house most of the day.
“My daughter was so scared and never told us anything. The man had apparently called her again after a few months, but she had managed to run away from him,” says the victim’s mother.
On Tuesday night, the girl had complained of severe stomach and hip pain. A local clinic to which her mother took her to had merely given some pain killer injection and a few tablets. As she suffered from pain the whole night and started bleeding heavily, the mother took her to a Government hospital in the city on Wednesday.
Only there the doctors confirmed that the girl has had an abortion of a five-months-old foetus.
“Since she did not have her menstrual cycle for the last five months, we assumed the heavy bleeding could be due to the cycle that was coming after a long time,” said the mother. She had assumed that her daughter’s cycle was disturbed because she was anaemic and her protruding stomach was just her belly.
She recently took part in a dance competition in her school which could have led to the abortion.
The family says the accused Mari was recently taken to a police station for misbehaving with two young girls in the locality. “But he was let off with a warning.
Even when we pass by him or his house, he used to pass lewd comments on women,” said another sister of the victim.
“This was a clear case of rape,” said a police officer investigating the case. However, the police officers claimed ignorance of the previous complaints against Mari citing recent transfer of the inspector in the police station concerned.
Mari has been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by the police and remanded to judicial custody by a local court.
(Names withheld to protect identity)