Delhi 4-year-old booked for rape: Experts say don’t criminalise him

Last Updated: Thursday, November 23, 2017, 03:26
Delhi 4-year-old booked for rape: Experts say don’t criminalise him
A four-and-a-half-year-old boy has been booked for raping a classmate inside the classroom as well as the washroom of a prominent private school in west Delhi on Friday, police said. The girl assaulted is of the same age. She told her mother that the boy used his finger and a sharpened pencil to assault her sexually.

The assault caused wounds in the child’s private parts, her mother said. According the deputy commissioner of police, legal experts were consulted “since an offence was made out and there was a victim”, and a case of rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered.

Though they registered a case, police were unsure how to proceed with the prosecution because of the suspect’s age.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) provides children below seven years of age certain protections against prosecutions. We are examining those provisions even as we are handling the matter with utmost sensitivity,” said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson.

The girl’s mother, in her statement to police said that the child complained of pain in her lower abdomen after returning from school on Friday. The girl kept complaining sporadically, but the mother ignored it thinking it was “one of her tantrums”.

The girl began crying that night and told her mother about the alleged assault. She told her mother that a boy from her class unbuttoned her pants in the classroom and used his finger to assault her.

The mother stated in the first information report (FIR) “She tried pushing him, but could not get away as other children had left and there was no staff around”.

In the FIR, the child’s mother stated that she complained to the schoolteacher through a text message that night. She informed the school again on Saturday, but the authorities allegedly did not cooperate with her and instead asked her to give a written complaint on Monday.

Since her daughter’s pain did not subside, she rushed her to a hospital where she was treated as well as a medico-legal case made. A police case was then registered. The mother alleged that there was no class teacher or even an ayah, or help, in either the classroom or washroom at the time of the assault.

She said her daughter’s delayed exit from the classroom, as she saw in CCTV footage, corroborated the sexual assault allegation. The school’s lawyer, however, said that they had an ayah present in every washroom of the school.

Experts advised investigators to handle the case with sensitivity. Experts on Wednesday warned against criminalising and labelling a four-year-old boy as a sexual predator because pre-puberscent children did not understand sexual behaviour.

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