February 9, 2011

Times of India

COP OUT , Police Said No To FIR For 2 Days In Girls Rape

Mumbai: For two whole days,the Vakola police refused to lodge an FIR in the rape of a three-year-old girl because they were uncertain if the offence had taken place.
The kindergartner was allegedly raped on Thursday morning in her Santa Cruz (East) school,the Kalina Education Society school,by a watchman,Telam Singh.Later that day,the childs mother called on Vakola police station to register a complaint,but the police paid little heed.On Friday too,the cops did not act;instead,playing the role of an arbiter between the school administration and the mother.The FIR was eventually lodged on Saturday after the mother produced a medical certificate from Sion Hospital,and on Monday,the police arrested Singh for alleged rape along with two other school employees who allegedly attempted to hush up the incident.

Rajendra Pardesi,senior police inspector of Vakola police station,argued that the police had recorded the mothers statement on Thursday,but they did not register an FIR till Saturday because they were unsure if the girl had indeed been raped.

On Tuesday morning,a number of parents protested outside Kalina Education Society,demanding strict action against its staff for laxity.When the crowd grew angry and in size,the police stepped in.A few of the parents,accompanied by a local social worker,were later allowed into the school to survey the site of the crime and meet the school management.My house is just a half a kilometre from the school.My daughter is in fifth standard.Every day,she used to come with her friends,but the incident has forced me to accompany her, said a protesting father.The victim studies in Junior KG in the preprimary section of Kalina Education Society school.According to the police,Singh took the child to a toilet on Thursday morning and sexually assaulted her.When the three-year-old,bleeding profusely,raised an alarm,a peon (Rekha Kamble) and a teacher (Elison Mirinda) assaulted her and threatened her.But once home,the young victim told her mother about the incident.

The mother rushed the child to Vakola police station,where a female police inspector dismissed their complaint as an attempt at raising an unnecessary controversy after the examining the victims private parts.She said the girl had not been raped.

When the mother insisted on filing a complaint,the police summoned the school staff,but did not send the child for a medical exam.Over the next day and a half,the cops played arbiter between the school and the complainant.

Things changed only on Saturday when the mother took the girl to Sion Hospital,where doctors confirmed,after an examination,that the child had been raped.The local police at the hospital,thereafter,contacted the Vakola police,which finally lodged an FIR.

The Vakola police took the girl to the school,where she identified the accused and the site of the crime.With no options left,the police arrested Singh along with Kamble and Mirinda.

Times of India

'Kids must be encouraged to talk freely'

MUMBAI: City psychiatrists say the steady increase in child sex abuse cases has brought to light the importance of training children about the difference between 'good touch' and 'bad touch'. Parents particularly need to communicate with kids every day so they can feel free to say anything they consider unusual.

"One can't trust strangers anymore and this is the first thing a child should be taught. Don't ask kids to respect and follow the advice of all adults," said Dr Harish Shetty. He added that the busy lifestyle of parents is increasingly giving offenders chances to victimize children. "Regular interaction with children is very important and parents should always take statements made by children seriously, unless proved otherwise," Shetty said.

With a number of sexual offences taking place at schools, psychiatrists say, it is important for parents to stay in touch with school authorities. "Parents should know who their kids interact with on a daily basis. They should regularly go to the school and stay around their kids to know what they do. This not only boosts the child's confidence in parents, but also leaves offenders with the impression that the child is well protected," said Dr Shubhangi Parkar, head of the psychiatry wing of KEM Hospital. She added that parents should simply and gently explain to their kids the issues of 'good touch' and 'bad touch' and about keeping away from strangers.

Schools should be aware of where students are at any given point of time. There should be enough attendants in class to ensure the safety of younger kids. "Even teachers should encourage students to enquire about anything and everything they feel like," said Shetty.

Increasing cases of child sex abuse have left parents wondering the right age to discuss such issues with kids. "There is no right age anymore. Earlier, we had instances of 5- or 6-year-olds being raped, but now we hear cases of kids barely 2 or 3 years old being targeted," said Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, adding that early detection of such cases and therapy is very important or else children might end up with a phobia of other people.

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