Even as the investigations are still on in the appalling case of sexual abuse at Bihar shelter home, a similar horrific case of sexual abuse is being reported from a Chennai orphanage. Reportedly, over 40 children in the age group of 4-15 were sexually harassed. As reported by The New Indian Express, the crackdown on the said orphanage came after four children complained of sexual harassment to a Child Protection Officer following an awareness programme.
Till now four people including Jacob and Vimala Jacob, who were running the orphanage and two staff members identified as Muthu and Baskar, have been arrested. Another person, named Samuel is absconding.
Four arrested, one absconding
Reportedly, two city magistrates, Anitha Ananth and B Soundarya along with Child Protection Officer, Senthil, among other officials were invited to a attend a legal awareness camp held at a government school where 11 of the students were from this orphanage.
After the program, four students, two girls and two boys from the orphanage approached Senthil and narrated their ordeal. Senthil said, “After the programme, two boys and two girls said they wanted to speak to me and started crying. After a while, they opened up. They said they were sexually exploited in the home they were living in.”
The complaint made the police swing into action. A detailed inquiry was set up in the said orphanage on August 23 and 24, which mostly houses orphans and children from families that could not support them. There are reportedly 44 children in the orphanage, 24 girls and 20 boys. Post the investigation, it was proved that the claims of those four children were, in fact, true.
Post this, a case has been registered under section 5 (Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault), 6 (Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and 17 (punishment for abetment) of the POSCO Act at the Avadi all women police station, as reported by Times Now. Four people have already been arrested, however, warden Samuel is absconding. The police said, “Four persons of the home accused of the offence were arrested and one Samuel, against whom most of the children have complained, is absconding.”
All the children have now been shifted to different homes. They were also medically examined and the reports are awaited.
It turns out that the orphanage is unregistered. Senthil said, “The home is an unregistered one. Its licence expired in 2015 and two years later, in 2017, a case was filed against it in court.”
The Logical Indian take
It is a matter of absolute shame for us as a society that we are unable to protect our children. It has now become something of a daily occurrence. Days after days we hear stories of sexual assault against minors by seemingly normal people. We need to ask ourselves that are we so tied up that we cannot ensure a safe and positive environment for our children to grow and flourish in? One can only hope that due justice is served to these children and even the absconding warden is caught at the earliest.
Also Read: 1575 Children Residing In Shelter Homes Were Victims Of Some Form Of Sexual Abuse: Govt Tells SC