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Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu
Activists meet gang rape victim’s parents

Activists meet gang rape victim’s parents

Fact-finding team looking into recent cases of sexual violence

A high-level fact-finding team — led by former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights — arrived at Sitling village in Harur on Sunday, to gather facts on the recent alleged gang-rape of a 16-year-old school girl and her eventual death at the Dharmapuri government medical college hospital.

The team, put together by the human rights NGO, ‘People’s Watch’, comprises of Aruna Rathnam, former education specialist, UNICEF, S. Martin, rights activist and lawyer, Dr. A. Savior Selva Suresh, forensic medicine expert, and A. Aloysius, a child rights defender.

The team led by Dr. Shanta Sinha arrived at the home of the victim and held a closed-room meeting with her mother, father, brother and relatives. They visited the scene of crime as well.

The team also visited the Kottapatty police station and spoke to the Investigating officer. The team will go to the children’s home and the Dharmapuri government medical college hospital on Monday.

Institutional failures

Henri Tiphagne, director, People’s Watch, told The Hindu that the team would look beyond the rising cases of sexual violence against children and focus on institutions and their failures.

The team is part of a larger team of activists and lawyers, who are on a fact-finding mission to Salem and Dharmapuri districts, focusing on the two recent gruesome cases of violence against children.

A nine-member team visited Thalavaipatti village near Attur in Salem district on Sunday, where a 14-year-old Dalit girl was beheaded by her neighbour last month.

The team — comprising Vidyasagar, former child protection officer, UNICEF, Chennai; Ajitha, advocate, Madras High Court; Devaneyan, director, Tozhamai NGO; S. Mohan, associate director, People’s Watch; Valentina, State secretary of the AIDWA; Asifa, assistant professor, Kalasalingam University; S. Prabakar, regional coordinator of People’s Watch, Kancheepuram; Sakthivel of Manitha Urimaikkana Kudimakkal Iyakkam, Salem and Ramu, a city-based rights activist — visited the residence of the girl and spoke to the girl’s parents, brother, sister and other relatives. They visited the local high school where the girl had studied and spoke to the local community.

Later, the members held a discussion with the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Attur, a spokesperson said.

They also visited Mallur village, where a 16-year-old girl was killed by her paternal uncle in May last year. The team members made inquiries with the relatives of the victim in Mallur and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Omalur.

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