Nearly two weeks after they “eloped”, the police traced two minors, both aged 14, to Vapi district where they had been “living as a couple”.
The two children were brought back to Vadodara late Sunday night, police said. While the girl was sent to back to her home, the boy was detained for alleged rape after the former’s family submitted a complaint, police added.
The minors, both students of class 9, are neighbours but belong to different castes. They had “eloped” on December 28 last year from their home at Padamla village in Vadodara allegedly after suffering from “separation anxiety” during the lockdown.
On Sunday, the girl’s parents lodged a complaint of rape after the two confessed that they had been in a physical relationship and wanted to “live like husband and wife”, police said.
According to the police, the two had run out of the Rs 30,000 they had “stolen” from their respective homes — the boy had taken Rs 25,000 while the girl took Rs 5,000 — before they allegedly eloped. To earn a living, the boy had begun working as a “labourer” for a local garment trader and earned Rs 366 per day, while the girl stayed home at their rented apartment.
Police Inspector RS Dodiya of Chhani police station said, “As per the law since the girl is a minor, the boy was booked for rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The boy has been sent to a juvenile home and now the Juvenile Justice Board will decide on his case.”
The officer added the two minors had not “married” but only began living together. “They rented a room for Rs 1,000 per month after they reached Vapi by a private taxi. The owner of the property claimed he had not suspected anything as the boy looked older than his actual age,” Dodiya added.
The girl, another officer said, has told the police that she was planning to work as a domestic help in adjoining houses in the locality in Vapi for earning more income.
Earlier, the police had said the minors were in touch with each other despite the lockdown, which was imposed March last year, and were “anxious” because they had been unable to meet each other physically. While both of them studied in two different schools, they would often meet outside school hours, locals had told the police.
On December 30 last year, the boy’s family had registered a case of kidnapping after the two “eloped”, following which the police had initiated a massive search for the two.