Minor to stay at CCI, HC seeks child-friendly court in Arunachal

Roing rape and molestation case

[ Karyir Riba ]

ROING, 17 Jul: The suo moto hearing of the minor’s rape and molestation case in Lower Dibang Valley (LDV) district has brought some more relief to the victim child as the Gauhati High Court (HC) has found it fit for the child to live and be taken care of at the child care institute (CCI) here.

The HC had taken suo moto cognizance of the case on 30 June, following ridiculous orders issued by the sessions court in Tezu, and had passed a stay order on all the orders related to the custody of the child.

On 16 July, the case hearing was done through videoconference and all the orders that were passed by the HC on 30 June were heard and taken into consideration.

The court order read: “Since the present facilities at the CCI, Roing are adequate and the child is well protected, it will be in the interest of justice that the child will stay there for the time being.”

The sessions court (SC) in Tezu had earlier ordered that the victim be handed over to one Pinky Debnath, who was identified as her local guardian. Ironically, Debnath is the sister-in-law of the alleged accused, Aka Kalung, who allegedly raped and molested the child for years.

Scrapping the order passed by the Tezu SC, the HC has directed that the child be kept in the custody of the CCI here.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that there is no child-friendly court in Arunachal where matters regarding the POCSO Act are taken up. Hence, the HC has requested the advocate general of Arunachal, N Dutta, to take up the matter with the state government, so that at least one such court is established and made functional in the state as early as possible.

The next hearing of the case is on 16 August.

Earlier, the HC had directed the state authority to provide police protection to the child, and had directed the deputy commissioner concerned to visit the CCI and conduct an inquiry with regard to the facilities available in the CCI.

The age of the child was also directed to be determined, and the medical examination done by the medical board suggested that the victim child was between 14 and 16 years of age at the time of examination, ie, on 6 July.

The district police have provided five women police personnel for the security of the victim and other inmates of the CCI round the clock. Other than this, the CCI also has its own security staff 24/7.

The police have also been ordered to frequently patrol the vicinity of the CCI. Moreover, a monitoring team has been constituted to monitor the security arrangements and other welfare measures for the children of the CCI, particularly the victim child.

According to the LDV deputy commissioner’s findings, the office and hostel buildings (with a capacity for 50 children) of the CCI were found to be well-established. Due to Covid infection among a few staffers and children of the CCI, the children had to be shifted to the nearby hostel of Nani Maria Kindergarten School.

The school’s premises and facilities of accommodation were found to be neat, clean, hygienic and spacious. The food provided was also found to be nutritious and hygienic. All the staffers and caretakers were found to be sincere, dedicated, caring, humble and adhering to Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The report also suggested that, during interaction with the SDO, the victim child “seemed to be very happy, healthy, and looked confident.”