A woman was arrested in Kerala’s Malappuram district on Friday on charges of abandoning her four minor stepchildren. According to police, Rasheeda (32) allegedly locked up her house and went out, leaving the children on the verandah for almost two days.
She faces charges under Section 317 of IPC (exposure and abandonment of child under twelve years, by parent or person having care of it) and the Juvenile Justice Act.
The incident happened a day after Rasheeda’s husband Abbas — the father of the children —flew back to work in the Middle East. Before leaving her house with her own two children on Wednesday, Rasheeda allegedly left her four stepchildren — aged between 3 and 14 — on the verandah. The children reportedly spent the whole day and night outside the house. On Thursday afternoon, locals noticed the children wandering outside the house, in search of food. They alerted the district childline, who took the children to a rescue home.
Several incidents of atrocities involving stepmothers have been reported in Kerala in the last few years. In 2014, the state government adopted a minor boy named Shafeek from Idukki, who was assaulted by his stepmother. Subsequently, the government formed a Master Shafeek Committee to recommend steps to prevent domestic child abuse.