A special court dealing with child abuse cases on Saturday held 15 persons of having raped a minor and physically disabled schoolgirl systematically in an apartment complex in Chennai for six months between January and July in 2018.
The case related to the rape of a 12-year-old hearing impaired girl by 16 persons including watchmen, lift operators in a gated community in Ayanavaram for nearly seven months until her elder sister from Delhi during a visit found out what was going on while their parents were busy with their own lives.
Of the 17 arraigned, one died during the trial. Of the remaining 16, gardener Gangadharan was acquitted and 15 were found guilty. The judge will pronounce sentence later. The verdict was given by Special Judge R N Manjula dealing with POCSO ( Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) cases enacted after the horrific Nirbhaya rape incident in New Delhi.
The all convicts are adults, unlike in the Nirbhaya case in which one was a minor. In this case, the youngest convict is 23 and the oldest 66. The police case is that the convicts sedated the girl and threatened her into silence by videographing the repeated rape. The first incident happened on Jan 17 in 2018 after she returned from school to her empty flat.
She told the police after the incident came to light that lift operator Ravi Kumar ( 66) was the first to rape her. Then others joined over a period of time. The incidents took place between Jan 17 and July 5.
What shocked social activists were how her parents, especially her mother, were unaware of it though were both working.