Madurai: A 50-year-old man was arrested by T Kallupatti police on Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting his 13-year-old step-daughter, impregnating her, and infecting her with HIV.
Ramamurthy, a resident of T Kallupatti in Madurai, was arrested by Madurai Police under various sections of POCSO. The girl, a class IV dropout, is in her 16th to 18th week of pregnancy. Tests also revealed that the survivor, her mother, and the accused are HIV positive.
The incident came to light when the 13-year-old girl was taken to a hospital after she complained of stomach ache. The doctors at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) examined her and found her pregnant after she was admitted there on Sunday evening.
She did not divulge anything about the rape despite repeated counseling by doctors and paramedics. The doctors also told the girl's mother that her daughter was four months pregnant. Her mother was reportedly unaware of her husband's alleged actions until doctors informed her that the child was pregnant.
The survivor’s mother said she saw the girl crying in the middle of the night once and on finding the man next to her scolded him. This made the police suspect him. She said the girl was sick and almost unconscious when she and her elder daughter returned from work a few weeks ago. Four days ago, she vomited and was taken to Peraiyur government hospital and then to a private hospital in Thirumangalam, from where she was referred to GRH.
When the girl was asked, she told her mother that her stepfather had sexually assaulted her multiple times. The man had also threatened to hurt her if she told anyone about it.
The man allegedly sexually assaulted the girl after she attained puberty four months ago last September. The girl is now 3.5 months pregnant and HIV positive. On being intimated, the police sought the help of the child welfare committee. The girl also tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The man has been arrested by the police.
Madurai Child Welfare Committee Member B Pandiarajan, who counseled the victim and her mother, said that the family hailed from Idukki in Kerala and the girl's father had died and that she had been under the care of her mother and elder sister. Her mother remarried a man from Vannivelampatti some years ago.
The survivor’s father died 11 years ago when she was two years old and her elder sister six. The widow married the accused seven years ago as he was known to her for a few years by then. The accused was 43 years old at that time, and was already married and lived with his family in Madurai. After he married the widow and brought her and the children to Madurai, his first wife and children abandoned him.
"The girl is undergoing treatment at the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai," Pandiarajan said.
According to Peraiyur Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mathiyalagan, the issue came to light after the child was taken to the GRH.
Mathiyalagan said doctors have confirmed that the child tested positive for HIV. Doctors then tested the step-father and mother and found both to be HIV positive. Officials are yet to investigate if the accused had sexually assaulted the older step-daughter as well.
The accused was booked under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act on Monday night. Peraiyur DSP T Mathialagan said the man was arrested on Tuesday and will be produced before the court the same night. The trail of HIV infection – whether the man got it from the girl’s mother or vice versa, will be known when the results of the tests on the extent of infections are out.
(The victim's identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)