Even beyond Kathua, sexual assaults of children persist

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: April 23, 2018
The sexual assault of children will always be horrible and tragic, and, in spite of public outrage over the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu, attacks on children seem to persist.

Child sexual abuse

On Tuesday, April 17, an eight-year-old girl in was allegedly raped and strangled in Uttar Pradesh. Her family was attending a wedding in Etah, where the accused, aged 18, is from. The accused, Sonu, allegedly took the victim while wedding rituals with loud music were being performed, taking her to a half-constructed house, where he allegedly raped and then choked her. He was arrested after being found, drunk, next the girl’s body. He has been charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, as well as under the National Security Act (NSA), under which an individual can be detained without being granted bail or a trial; revealing the grounds for detention is not required if authorities are of the opinion that the individual could pose a threat to the state’s or country’s security, or to public order.

Days later, a nine-year-old who was also attending a wedding with her family in Etah, Uttar Pradesh was allegedly raped and strangled. A cook, Pintu, who was with the team that was hired to cook food for the wedding, allegedly took the girl from her family’s neighbour’s home to a deserted area, then allegedly raped and strangled her. He has been arrested.

In a third incident that was similar, but took place in nearby Chhattisgarh, a ten-year-old girl was raped and murdered, also during a wedding event, on Wednesday, April 18. Police said that the accused, Uttam Sahu, 25, confessed to raping the girl and then killing her by hitting her head with a stone. Sahu was a friend of the bridegroom, who was related to the victim. 

These incidents follow the discovery of a young girl’s body in Surat; a postmortem report suggested that the girl was raped and tortured for eight days before she was strangled. The girl had 86 injuries on her body. 

Offences against children seem to have risen dramatically in the last decade, according to an analysis by child rights organisation CRY. "There has been a significant increase in crimes against minors of more than 500 per cent over the past 10 years with 1,06,958 cases being reported in 2016 over a figure of 18,967 in 2006," the analysis noted. CRY–Child Rights and You–also found that 50% of crimes against children have been documented in only five states: Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh takes first position, with 15% of crimes against children being documented there. This figure is 14% for Maharashtra, and 13% for Madhya Pradesh. CRY also found that every 15 minutes, a sexual crime is committed against a child in India.