Date: Thursday, December 27, 2018
A 29-year-old cabbie from Peenya was sentenced by a Bengaluru court to 14 years rigorous imprisonment after he was held guilty of raping a 12-year-old in March 2014. The girl’s widowed mother told the court that she treated G Santosh like her brother and asked him to spend time with her daughter as she would be alone at home, but the cabbie betrayed her trust.
Similarly, Basavanagudi police recently arrested an autorickshaw driver for raping the eldest of his five daughters on the pretext of giving her sex education.
These Bengaluru cases registered under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act are no aberrations, says police. Children in Karnataka are most vulnerable to sexual assaults from people who know them or are their custodians, they say, pointing out the findings from a review of Pocso cases reported from Karnataka.
The review by state police found that 40% of men who sexually assaulted children were known to the survivors. In fact, 30% of the predators attacked children from their own families.
“There is a need to create more awareness among children, schoolgoing kids in particular, about their rights and to report any form of molestation and sexual abuse. The concept of good touch and bad touch should be included in school curriculum at an early stage. Further, sensitising parents, guardians and teachers to keep a watch on abnormal behaviour in children due to bad influences is also important,” said MA Saleem, additional director general of police (ADGP), crime and technical wing.
Pocso cases, meanwhile, continue unabated in Karnataka. In 2016, 1,614 cases were reported from across the state, while the number climbed to 1,875 in 2017. In the first 11 months of this year, 1,705 cases have been reported.
Police record in pursuing the cases though is a mixed bag. While 60 Pocso case accused were convicted in 2016, the number dipped to 32 the next year. This year, only four accused have been convicted. Police admit collecting evidence and taking statements from eyewitnesses and others are major challenges they face in Pocso probes.
“In many cases, survivors and complainants turn hostile due to many reasons, including fear of getting defamed in society. Neighbours or relatives of survivors hesitate to make statements or appear in court during trial. These are the main reasons for such low rate of convictions. Despite best efforts, over 25% of the cases are dismissed due to lack of cooperation from the survivors and their family members,” a senior police officer said.
Read The Times of India (source) article here.