November 14, 2021 1:03:50 am
Police have arrested 22 people Saturday in connection with a case in which a 13-year-old Patan girl was paraded after being tonsured and her face blackened allegedly for being in a relationship with a man.
According to police, the incident occurred on November 10 when the minor was restrained by more than 35 men from her community. A video that went viral shows the girl’s head being shaved after tying up her hands. Her face was blackened with soot and a hot pan was seen placed on her tonsured head before being paraded in the village as part of the primitive “punishment” meted out by men of her community, including her father.
In the video, which surfaced on social media Friday, the child was seen crying for help as the men who surrounded her jeered and paraded her in captivity. Furthermore, the victim was married off to a man the same day by her father and other male relatives, the police said.
After the video went viral, Patan collector, Superintendent of Police and District Child Protection Officer rushed to the spot with multiple police teams deployed in the village. “We have arrested 22 accused in the case yet. Further probe is on,” said Akshay Raj Makwana, superintendent of police, Patan.
“After the video surfaced, the victim child was rescued by the police. We have brought her to our one-stop centre in Patan’s Dharpur wherein her medical examination is going on. The victim’s statement has also been recorded by the police and she has been counselled by them. We are awaiting an order by the National Commission for Women (NCW) after which she will be shifted to a girl’s home,” Ketan Prajapati, district child protection officer, Patan, told The Indian Express. One-stop centres under the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) support women affected by violence in private and public spaces, within the family, community and workplace.
According to the police, the child was in a relationship with a man from her village and had eloped to a nearby town two days after Diwali. They were caught by a few village men near a bus stand in the town and were forcibly brought back. The man was also given a similar treatment as the girl separately. The girl, who was restrained in her house before being paraded, was then married off to another man.
Two FIRs have been lodged in the matter. In the first, 35 men from the victim’s community have been booked under the Indian Penal Code sections 143 for unlawful assembly, 323 for causing hurt, 341 and 342 for wrongful restrain, 509 for insulting the modesty of a woman and sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Prevention of Child Marriage Act. In another FIR, the 18-year-old man who had allegedly eloped with the victim has been booked under IPC sections 363 for kidnapping, 366 for kidnapping a woman to compel her for marriage, 376 (3) for raping a woman repeatedly and sections of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
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