COIMBATORE: The district Mahila court judge, along with a team of prosecution and defence lawyers, on Monday inspected a facility for the deaf and mentally handicapped, where a 15-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by the warden of the facility in 2013.
The victim during examination in the court was unable to pinpoint the exact scene of occurrence prompting a spot visit by the attorneys and the judge.
On October 6, 2013, social workers and volunteers from the People’s Welfare Association of Coimbatore (PWAC) visited the Neyam Special School and Home for the Mentally Challenged that was accommodating around 28 inmates. A 15-year-old speech impaired girl, managed to inform the social workers about the repeated abuse and sexual assault that she suffered at the hands of the warden, P Vanagamudi.
Gurumoorthy, president of the PWAC, subsequently lodged a complaint with the police, who arrested Vanagamudi and booked him under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC and various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The facility was also subsequently shut down. The trial commenced on Nov 12, 2014, and three witnesses in the case had already been examined. The victim, who was the fourth witness, was unable to tell the Mahila Court judge M P Subramanian the exact spots where she was raped.
V Suresh Lakshmanan, advisor to the PWAC, who was also at the facility on Monday, said the girl, a speech impaired, had been staying in the facility from the age of six. “Since the girl’s friends were also like her, she did not learn the ways to articulate words or sentences,” said public prosecutor R Sarojini.
Consequently, the judge, lawyers, the public prosecutor, along with the victim, inspected the facility on Monday, where the victim pinpointed four places where she was sexually assaulted by Vanagamudi. Interestingly, A Sahayaraj, the headmaster of the Tirupur HSS for the deaf, acted as an interpreter.
Sahayaraj told Express that as the girl could hear and understand what he said, he only needed to interpret the signs she made in response to the queries and explained her responses to the judge and the lawyers.