A minor girl living in an orphanage in Gujarat’s Kutch district was allegedly raped by two juvenile boys in August this year, police said on Saturday. The accused raped the girl in the toilet of the orphanage, police said, adding the juveniles were inmates of the same facility. They were arrested on October 5 after the incident came to light and have been sent to an observation home.
According to a complaint filed with Kutch (east) police, the boys followed the victim to a toilet block on the campus of the orphanage at around 4 pm on August 16 this year when she went to relieve herself. Both the accused took turns to rape her, an investigating officer (IO) in the case told The Indian Express.
The police officer said the victim is 16-year-old and the juvenile offenders were also of the same age.
The orphanage, which is run by an NGO, is home to a total of 162 boys and girls who lost their families during the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat. “There are separate buildings for boys and girls. But both the buildings are on the same compound and boys and girls do share some common area. On the day of the incident, the two boys noticed the victim entering the toilet block and followed her there and assaulted her,” the officer said further.
The IO added that the girl narrated her ordeal to the matron of the orphanage. “The matron, in turn, contacted relatives of the victim and apprised them of the incident. However, the relatives refused to file a police complaint. However, a third party wrote a letter to police and based on it, we initiated an enquiry. The girl was also counselled. Eventually, she gave a police complaint. We registered an offence on the basis of that complaint and the boys were arrested from the orphanage the next day,” the police officer said.
The medical report of the victim is awaited. “The accused juveniles were also subjected to medical tests and their required samples have been collected. Reports of laboratory tests of the samples are awaited,” said the officer.
When asked if the police were suspecting the matron of the orphanage, the officer said, “Not at this stage. However, the investigation is ongoing and due process will be followed.”
The orphanage is recognised by the state government and also gives shelter to widows. President of the NGO could not be reached.
However, Kutch district collector Remya Mohan said district child welfare committee (CWC) has launched an enquiry against the orphanage. “The committee has already made a spot visit and will file a report. “It is being investigated by police with respect to rape and by CWC with respect to the Juvenile Justice Act. They have made a site visit and they are in the process of finalising their report. They have got judicial power and will take action,” Mohan told The Indian Express.