Kasaragod: A Kasaragod court sentenced a fishing boat owner to triple life imprisonment for repeatedly sexually assaulting a deaf and mute minor girl in Manjeshwar police limits in September 2015.
The father of the girl used to work for the convict A Suresh (44) alias Cheriabbu. Her mother and two brothers are also deaf and mute.
"Suresh knew everything about the family and chose to assault the girl when she was alone at home," said Prakash Ammannaya, the public prosecutor for sex crimes against children.
On Wednesday, Kasaragod additional sessions court (I) judge A Manoj found Suresh guilty of three counts of sex crimes under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Suresh was found guilty of committing penetrative sexual assault and causing grievous injury to the sexual organs [Section 5 (i) of POCSO Act]; taking advantage of a child's disabilities and assaulting her [Section 5 (k) of POCSO Act]; and sexually assaulting the child more than once [Section 5 (l) of POCSO Act].
The judge awarded a life sentence to the convict in all three sections. The three life sentences will run concurrently. "Yet, this is the first time a convict is getting triple life sentences," said Ammannaya. The court agreed with the prosecution on the gravity of the offences. He will be imprisoned for the rest of his natural life, he said.
Suresh was also sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for trespassing into the house under section 450 of the IPC. The judge fined him Rs 1 lakh each in the four sections. "If he pays the fine, the money will be given to the survivor," said the public prosecutor.
If the fine is not paid, he will have to serve an additional eight years (two years under each section) in prison.
According to the prosecution, Suresh assaulted the girl, who was then 15 years old, on September 9 and 22, 2015. "He had tied up and assaulted the girl. Her medical report revealed his sadistic nature," said Ammannaya.
He picked the time when the girl's mother and father left home to work in the fish market and the boat, and the brothers went to school.
On the second day of the crime, the girl managed to free herself and fled to her neighbour's house.
Society found the inaction of the Manjeshwar police equally repulsive. Her mother said the police refused to arrest Suresh even 20 days after the crime was reported. The mother then wrote to the Kerala State Human Rights Commission seeking action against the then inspector, sub-inspector, and a civil police officer.
On October 10, 2015, a group of women marched to the Kumbla Circle Inspector's Office and protested against the delay in action.
Later, the case was entrusted to District Crime Branch. In two days, Crime Branch DySP T P Premarajan arrested the accused from Ullal near Mangaluru.
In December 2015, the State Human Rights Commission directed the police department not to depute the three officers in any law and order posts. The government largely ignored the direction but kept the officers out of the district for some time. The State Human Rights Commission had also urged the government to ensure a steady income for the family.
Now the father is also incapacitated, said the public prosecutor.