Dalit child rape at TELC home at Pollachi (Code: TN-COIM-2014-009, Date: 11-Jun-2014 )

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Case Title

Case primary details

Case posted by Social Awareness Society for Youths
Case code TN-COIM-2014-009
Case year 11-Jun-2014
Type of atrocity Rape
Whether the case is being followed in the court or not? Yes

Fact Finding

Fact finding date

Fact finding date Not recorded

Case Incident

Case Incident details

Case incident date 12-Jun-2014
Place Village: Not recorded
Taluka:Not recorded
District: Coimbatore(DP)
State: Tamil Nadu
Police station Not recorded
Complaint date 31-Dec-1969
FIR date 12-Jun-2014

Case brief

Case summary

Two Minor Girls of Pollachi TELC School Hostel were abducted and Raped by Habitual Rapist Veerasamy

Thilgavathi (11) D/o Pachai Muthu and Nagamani (late), resident of Pathrakali Amman Colony, Thathur panchayat, Pollachi, Coimbatore, belonging to Dalit Arunthathiyar community, is pursuing 6th standard in Tamilnadu Evanlegical Lutheran Churchadministered School. Thilagavathi’s mother Nagamani (caste Hindu Devar community) died due to Jaundice when Thilagavathi was just 8 months old. Since the death of Nagamani, Pachaimuthu deserted Thilagavathi and she was left with the care of Grandmother Rani and Nagamani’s sister Selvi and her husband Manikandan (Advasi community). Due to their poor financial condition they admitted her in the TELC Hostel since 3rd standard. Manikandan’s children namely Mohanraj (10 – 5th std) and Pushpanjali (8 – 4th std) are also pursuing their education in the Pollachi TELC School.

Mahalakshmi (10) D/o Saravanan belongs to Dalit Boer community and Janaki belongs to caste Hindu Nadar community. As Saravanan’s first wife Muthulakshmi died due to illness, he remarried Muthulakshmi’s sister Janaki. With Muthulakshmi Saravana Kumar have one daughter named Sangeetha (12). Three of Saravanakumar’s children namely Sangeetha (12), Bhupathi (11), Mahalakshmi (10) were pursuing their education in the TELC school. Due to poor financial condition, on 08/06/2014,  Mahalakshmi and his younger brother Bhupathi (11) were in the TELC administered School and Hostel located in Pollachi, Coimbatore district.

Since 1984, TELC Pollachi Hostel was run without the approval of the government. Without proper registration, it has accommodated 17 boys and 3 girl students. Though it receives huge foreign funds, it has not provided adequate facilities for the children. Security Provisions were not properly established in this hostel. The Hostel administration failed to provide proper and adequate food to the children. Hence the children were reportedly sought/pegged the waste/left over foods from the hotels located in the nearby Bus station.

On 12/06/2014, around 12 am, Veerasamy, resident of Vaalpaarai, Pollachi, Coimbatore district, belonging to Dalit Arunthathiyar community, along with his accomplice came to the TELC hostel. Veerasamy in a drunken state broke open the door of the hostel while his accomplice stand guarding the door. On hearing this noise and seeing some stranger in the hostel, the children started shouting and cried for help. Veerasamy drew his knife and threatened that he will slit them if they cry for help. He asked Thilagavathi to bring water for him.  After drinking the water, he asked Thilagavathi and Mahalakshmi to come along with him. When they refused, he forcefully took them to the terrace of the TELC hostel campus. On seeing Mahalakshmi and Thilagavathi being abducted by a stranger, other children of the Hostel namely Manikandan and Vimal rushed to the warden’s house and informed about this abduction. Warden Suresh Kumar in turn informed this to the School Head Master Rajendran. Rajendran informed this to the police department.

Veerasamy after taking Thilagavathi and Mahalakshmi to the upstairs, he forcefully grappled Mahalakshmi, kissed and bitten her lips. He undressed Mahalakshmi and raped her. When Mahalakshmi cried due to the pain, he threatened to slit her throat with a blade if she shouts again. Mahalakshmi started bleeding in her vaginal area due to the forced sex. Her cloths and under garments were soaked in blood and she started murmuring and fainted. Then Veerasamy forcefully raped Thilagavathi and when she shouted due to pain, he again threatened to slit her with a blade. As he noticed the people coming in search of the abducted students, he threatened that he will kill them if they reveal this to anyone.  Then he escaped from the place of incident on noticing the police and the warden staffs in search of the children. Due to fear and pain, the two girl children remained silent and were hesitant to come out of the place. Around 2 am the police found them in the terrace of the TELC campus. They found Mahalakshmi stained with blood all over her under garments and her clothes. They carried them down. After making initial enquiry, both Thilagavathi and Mahalakshmi were immediately rushed to the hospital. The Hospital staffs confirmed about the commission of rape and repeated rape of Thilagavathi on noticing the marks of vaginal wound. The police have registered a case on 12/06/2014 under FIR No. 16/2014 u/s 5(H)(L)(M) and 6 of POCSO Act r/w 366(A), 376 of IPC r/w 3(1)(w(i), 3(2)(v) of SC/ST PoA Amendment Ordinance 2014. The police department has filed a case against the Hostel Warden Suresh Kumar and Pollachi TELC Church Secretary Backianathan under FIR No. 311/14 u/s 188, 336, 342 of IPC r/w Section 23 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

Heads of District Administration and police officials visited the hospital and investigated the incident. The parents and relatives of Thilagavathi and Mahalakshmi went to the hospital late in the evening and they were not given adequate time to spend with their children and to console them. The hospital staffs and the police department refused them to be with their children as the Ministers and the Higher Officials of the District Administration have been visiting the hospital to meet the affected children.  

The Hostel and School Administration failed to inform about this atrocity to the parents and relatives of the children. Their poor management of this grievous atrocity incident can be understood as they asked Bhupathy (11) S/o Saravanakumar and brother of Mahalakshmi to inform about this atrocity to the parents and relatives of the children. Thilagavathi’s foster parents Manikandan and Selvi were informed about this atrocity by Bhupathi only in the late afternoon. The parents and relatives of the children were not given adequate time to speak with their children. The Sub-Collector Mrs. Rashmi Siddarth Jehade fainted on seeing the blood stained condition of Mahalaksmi. Mahalaksmi sustained serious injury in her vagina and it was tore up to 8 cm deep. The Doctors have reported that Thilagavathi was having wounds in her vagina due to repeated rape.

On 13/06/2014, Parents and relatives, along with the support and hand holding of Women solidarity groups, staged a protest seeking immediate arrest of the perpetrator and his accomplice. The Police managed to arrest the associates of Veerasamy namely Gopinath, Hari, Arun, and Venkatesh. And they arrested Veerasamy on 14/06/2014.  On 15/06/2014, the victims were given monetary compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs each. The District Administration has ordered the closure of the TELC Hostel and whipped up similar investigation in other children hostels in the district.

During the month of March, a video record about the abject condition revealing the lack of adequate security, basic facilities and non-provision of foods in the TELC hostel was made with the help of the inmates and it was reported to the Social Welfare Officer. But the Social Welfare Department has not taken any action in this regard. During the fact finding mission, the inmates of TELC Pollachi Hostel reportedly told they used to seek /peg waste and left over food from the nearby  hotels, as the hostel administration failed to provide food to the children on regular basis.

Veerasamy, resident of Kakkan Nagar, Valpaarai, Coimbatore, belongs to Dalit Arunthathiyar community. He was married and a father of a girl child. He is a habitual child sex offender. During the interrogation he revealed that he raped street children on various occasions luring them by giving food and snacks. Recently people caught hold of him while he was sexually harassing a street child and handed over him to the police department. But the police department failed to take severe action against him. Prior to this atrocity, he was implicated under robbery and sexual assault cases against him.

On 11/06/2014, during the evening he and his associates namely Gopinath, Hari, Arun, and Venkatesh, stolen a mobile phone from a shop and sold it. With the money, they had alchohol. After this Veerasamy and one of his associates went to the TELC hostel and commissioned this grievous crime. Police Sub-Inspector reportedly told that on 11/06/2014 midnight, the police chased a group of men and the gang ran into the TELC Hostel campus and hid inside the campus. But the police have not made any serious attempt to catch them. As the criminals vanished into the campus, the police negligently left the place. This negligence of the police ended in a two minor children being raped by the perpetrator Veerasamy.

The District Administration transferred the hostel inmates to another safe residential hostel. The relatives of Thilagavathi and parents of Mahalakshmi asked the district administration to give their children back. But the District Administration and the Doctors refused to this demand and told that the children will be accommodated in other residential school ensuring provision of proper physical and psychological treatment for them.

FINDINGS:

1. Since 1984, Tamil Nadu Evangelical Lutheran Church administered School is running a residential hostel without the approval of the Government. The hostel lacks basic facilities, security provisions and the inmates were not provided food regularly. The 17 boys and 3 girl minor students were accommodated in the single room without proper security and without a woman warden in place.

2. During March 2014, the abject condition of the hostel was recorded in a video footage and was reported to the Social Welfare Officials. But the Social Welfare Department failed to take any action in this regard.

3. On 11/06/2014, around 11pm, the police patrol noticed a group of criminals on the street and chased them. As the Criminals took refuge in the TELC hostel campus, the police department negligently retracted without presuming any harm might be commissioned on the hostel inmates. The chased criminals were later known to be Veerasamy and his associates namely Gopinath, Hari, Arun, and Venkatesh.

4. On 12/06/2014, 12 am Veerasamy and his accomplice broke open the door of the TELC Pollachi hostel and abducted Thilagavathi c/o Manikandan and Mahalaksmi D/o Saravana kumar by threatening them with a knife. Veerasamy took them to the terrace of the TELC Hostel campus and raped them.

5. Hostel students namely Manikandan and Vimal rushed to the Warden’s house and informed about the abduction of Mahalakshmi and Thilagavathi. The warden informed about this to the Head Master, who in turn reported this to the police. Then they started searching for the abducted girls, along with the police men.

5. Mahalakshmi sustained serious injury in her vagina due to the forced rape and Thilagavathi was also subject to rape by the perpetrator. When they cried due to the extreme pain, he threatened them that he will slit their throat if they try to shout seeking help. As he noticed the police and the hostel staffs searching for the children, he escaped from the scene. Both the girls kept quiet, due to extreme pain and shock, and remained in the place.

6. The police and the hostel staffs later noticed them and witnessed Mahalaksmi with her blood stained clothes and bitten wounds in her lips. Then they took them to the Hospital for medical assistance. The doctors confirmed the rape and revealed that Thilagavathi was having wounds of repeated rape. Mahalakshmi who sustained severe injury in the Vagina and it was tore up to 8cm deep.

7. On 12/06/2014, Police filed a FIR regarding this atrocity. On suspicion police have arrested Gopinath, Hari, Arun, and Venkatesh, who were later known to be the associates of Veerasamy. All the four were implicated under the charge of robbery. On 14/06/2014, a police team under Inspector General Davidson, based on a tip off from the public, arrested Veerasamy.

8. An FIR was registered under FIR No. 16/2014 u/s 5(H)(L)(M) and 6 of POCSO Act r/w 366(A), 376 of IPC r/w 3(1)(w(i), 3(2)(v) of SC/ST PoA Amendment Ordinance 2014. The Hostel Warden Suresh Kumar and Pollachi TELC Church Secretary Backianathan were implicated under FIR No. 311/14 u/s 188, 336, 342 of IPC r/w 23 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

9. The District Administration has ordered for the closure of the Hostel and transferred the inmates to another Residential school. Thilagavathi and Mahalakshmi were given monetary compensation of Rs. 300000 each following  this atrocity.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Other than Veerasamy, one of his accomplice was also present during the abduction and rape. This was well established by the statement of the hostel students. But the police have not implicated the accomplice of Veerasamy who assisted him during the abduction. Hence the police have to implicate his accomplice under the sexual assault case.

2. The Government has to provide monetary compensation of Rs. 1000000 to Thilagavathi and Mahalakshmi. The State should bear of cost of education of these two minor students and provide employment after their successful completion of education.

3. The state government should implicate all the responsible government officials who failed to monitor and enforce the pre-eminence of the residential school standards should be brought under the scanner of the POCSO Act and Juvenile Justice Act.

4. The Government should create awareness and orientation programmes about the rights of children. They have to encourage the children to participate in these kinds of workshops.  

5. The TELC School and Hostel Management causes the children of the hostel to seek/peg for leftover/waste foods of the nearby hotels. Hence the TELC Hostel and School Management should be implicated under Section 24(1) of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and stringent punishments should be awarded as per the act.

6. As the minor students were accommodated in the hostel for over a long period of time, the section 344 of IPC have to invoked, replacing section 342 in the FIR No. 311/14, ensuring stringent punishments for the Hostel Management personnel.

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