As crimes against children rise in both Telugu states, not much is being done by the authorities on prevention
On July 06 a 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her 40-year-old father in Buttayagudam in West Godavari district.
The child became pregnant and when the father found out, he threatened her saying he would kill her if she told her mother about what had happened.
When the girl fell sick, her mother took her to the hospital where it was confirmed that the girl was pregnant.
Upon questioning her daughter, the truth came tumbling out. The girl’s mother lodged a complaint against her husband who is currently absconding.
Until Standard 5, the child stayed with her grandmother. For the past year though, after she attained puberty, she moved in with her parents.
“The mother is a housewife and her father is a daily wage labourer and an alcoholic. When the mother went out for some work, then he used to threaten his daughter by keeping an axe beside him saying that he will kill her if she doesn’t listen to him or if she revealed this to anyone,” Polavaram DSP Ravi Kumar told The Lede.
The very next day, on 07 July, another incident took place in Kotta Pattiseema village in Polavaram mandal in Andhra Pradesh.
60-year-old Shivaya tried to rape a 12-year-old girl and when neighbours got to know about this, he was taken into police custody.
On 08 July another child was assaulted, this time in neighbouring Telangana.
The incident took place in LB Nagar in Hyderabad, where 35-year-old Jonny tried to assault a 6-year-old child.
He was taken into custody after eyewitnesses turned him in.
Last month a horrifying rape-murder of a nine-month-old baby girl took place in Hanamkonda in Warangal district of Telangana.
On 20 June, 25-year-old Praveen was held for this crime.
The list of crimes against children is long and only increasing this year. Faced with a lack of official information on the number of crimes against children in the Telugu states, The Lede compiled some of the cases reported in the mainstream media that shows how deep rooted the issue is.
On June 24, a 65-year-old worker attempted to rape a 7-year-old child in Jawaharnagar, Hyderabad.
On April 14, a 3-year-old child was sexually abused allegedly by helpers in a Hyderabad kindergarten.
92 child rape cases were reported in just three months in Hyderabad city according to a survey conducted by NGO Balala Hakkula Sangham.
Telangana also has the dubious distinction of being home to the second highest number of child pornography victims in shelter homes in the country, according to a recent report by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
DSP Ravi Kumar of Polavaram range feels that crimes against children are taking place due to consumption of alcohol. “All these cases are happening when the person is drunk. Also children should be aware of good touch and bad touch,” he said.
Child rights activist Lubna Sarwath says that apart from drinking what is being fed in society is also a main factor for these incidents.
“People are being spoiled by the movies and easy internet access,” she told The Lede. “For them children are the soft targets to commit all these crimes. There is no initiation from the government in addressing these issues,” she charges.
Prasanthi Annamraju is a women’s rights activist fighting to prod the Telangana government into appointing a chairperson for the state’s Women and Child Welfare Commission.
“It has been more than 10 months. There is no chairperson appointed for Women’s Commission of Telangana after Tripurana Venkataratnam,” she told The Lede.
The Commission is already lagging behind in terms of pending cases - 57% of its total of 213 cases.
“This year alone, 46 complaints have been filed with the State Women’s Commission, but there is no senior official on the panel who can take up the issue,” she continued.
A group of women in Hyderabad have started a petition on change.org, demanding the government set up a fully functional portal for the women’s commission, where complainants can register their plaints without having to approach the police each time. The petition, which was started a year ago, now has close to 6000 signatories.
Prasanthi says the chairperson for the State Women’s Commissioner has to be appointed by the Chief Minister. “He does not seem to see any urgency although there are many cases being reported,” she said.
“This is not the first time concerns have been raised about the Women’s Commission. The issue has been reported time and again by the media, but the government has maintained silence,” says Prasanthi.
Activists say that although the Commission accepts complaints in person, the lack of an online portal is forcing women to approach the police each time to report a crime.
Multiple attempts to contact the relevant authorities in state government did not yield fruit. The Lede will update this story as and when we get a response.