THEME 3: DISPROPORTIONATE TARGETING OF YOUNG GIRLS
CASE STUDY: DALIT CHILDREN ARE EASY TARGETS BECAUSE THEY ARE THOUGHT TO HAVE NO SOCIETAL PROTECTIONS
State: Tamil Nadu
Age: 7 years
The victim was playing outside her house as her family was busy attending to relatives in their small house in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai district. It was evening when the victim’s parents noticed that the girl wasn’t playing outside the house. They first thought she might have just strayed in the neighbourhood so they waited for her to return home.
Hours went by and still when the victim did not return home, the family realised something had gone wrong. The family began searching the neighbourhood. They had no clue how she disappeared, but all this while they only thought that she was missing and would find her soon. As night descended the parents along with the entire family began a frantic night long search for the girl.
Having searched the entire area, the family decided to complain to the police the next morning and seek help in their search efforts. They filed a complaint at the local police station and after a few hours, the search led to a horrific discovery. The victim’s body was found in a swamp in the neighbourhood. It was left to rot there with ants and insects beginning to eat it away.
The needle of suspicion fell on a caste Hindu flower worker in the area who knew that the victim’s father was an alcoholic and there were domestic issues in the family. He saw the little dalit girl as an easy target.
Investigations revealed that the accused had lured the playing child to a nearby forest, raped her and then murdered her. He first thought that given that the victim’s father is an alcoholic and mother is mentally ill, the little child would be too terrified to complain about the sexual assault. But later he panicked and murdered her, to leave no evidence behind. He left the body to rot in the swamp to ensure no one would find it. A case was filed and the accused was arrested and remanded to custody.