TIRUNELVELI: It has been more than three weeks since a minor dalit girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped by a youth at Punnaivanapperi village in Tirunelveli district. Though a case was filed, the local kangaroo court is pressurising the victim's parents to settle the issue amicably by accepting Rs one lakh from the accused.
According to police, the 14-year-old victim was allegedly raped by one Sudalaimani on May 6 when she was alone at home. Her father, who works in a brick kiln, said, "The incident occurred in the night when we went to our village, Kadaikandarkulam near Sankarankovil. Sudalaimani came drunk to my home and took my daughter to a nearby hill and raped her. He kept her there the whole night. When we reached home in the morning, we saw our daughter sitting and weeping at the entrance of our house".
According to the fact-finding team of Evidence, an NGO based in Madurai, which visited the village on May 29, the local kangaroo court has asked the accused to pay Rs one lakh to the victim to settle the issue. "They made an abortive bid to give Rs one lakh and settle the matter. The accused also offered to give six sovereigns of gold to the owner of the brick kiln, where the victim's father works, to suppress the matter," said a member in the fact-finding team.
The victim was taken to Tirunelveli government hospital on May 29 for medical examination. Even though police registered an FIR (Crime No: 155/2012) on May 25, they did not bother to pick up the accused who was roaming around freely in the village till Wednesday.
Sub-inspector S Premachandran of Karivalamvanthanallur police station under whose jurisdiction the village falls, said police arrested Sudalaimani on Wednesday. "The girl was in love with the boy. A preliminary investigation revealed that she was raped by Sudalaimani when she was alone at home. Her parents were away. However, we received the complaint very late. There was also a counter complaint against the victim's father. So we wanted to investigate the case properly. I have just got information from my special team that Sudalaimani is arrested," said Premachandran. But the victim's father said, "I haven't got any information. I saw him in the village even today. The accused and his people are threatening me every day. I am scared and don't know what to do".
Filing false counter complaints to threaten the victim's family is not new. "Whenever a dalit files a complaint at the local police station, the easiest way to threaten him is to file a false counter complaint. This is happening throughout Tamil Nadu. Since most of the dalits are unaware of the legal procedures, they often withdraw the case out of fear. The case against the girl's father is also a false counter-complaint," said A Kathir, director of Evidence.
Police said the 14-year-old victim was allegedly raped by one Sudalaimani on May 6 when she was alone at home. According to the fact-finding team of Evidence, an NGO based in Madurai, which visited the village on May 29, though a case was filed, the local kangaroo court has asked the accused to pay Rs one lakh to the victim to settle the issue