GUWAHATI: A local court in Arunachal has drawn flak over the manner in which it handled a case involving a minor rape survivor.
The court not only ordered the survivor to be handed over to her local guardian, who is the sister-in-law of the alleged rapist but also allegedly did not allow a member of the local Child Care Institute (CCI), who had accompanied the child, to be by her side while her statement was recorded.
The child wanted to stay at the CCI but the court said, “The said survivor, who is having a biological father and a local guardian, cannot be treated like a child who needs care and protection. Hence, the child is handed over by the CCI.”
The 14-year-old girl, who hails from Nepal, worked as a domestic help at the house of the accused, Aka Kalung. He was arrested by the police who filed a charge sheet against him on April 20.
Kalung, who hails from Lower Dibang Valley district in the state and is now out on bail, had allegedly raped the girl multiple times.
The Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR) decided to send one of its members to Lower Dibang Valley capital Roing for an assessment of how the case was handled. The child rights body, which viewed the court’s judgement “questionable”, has already taken up the case with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Given that the girl is from another country, the police had suggested the APSCPCR take up the case at the embassy level.
She was reported missing on March 1 and traced the next day. She had told the police how she was subjected to sexual assault by the accused before being sent to the CCI. The survivor was brought to Arunachal from Nepal when she was very small and ever since then, she had been staying at the house of the accused, the police said.
The CCI was critical of the court for not allowing its member into the court while the child’s statement was recorded. It said as per the Juvenile Justice Act and Section 164 of the CrPC, the child had to be accompanied by a confidante.
The girl’s father came to Arunachal a few months ago and has been staying at the house of the accused.