The boy, who had been sexually abused and scalded by cigarettes by a senior, was brought to Sion Hospital at 5.30 pm yesterday; despite his brutal case being related to the on-duty constable at the hospital by the child’s mother and treating doctors, officers at Sion police station had not registered an FIR till late last night
Displaying shocking apathy in a brutal case of child abuse, the Sion police dragged their feet in registering an FIR, despite doctors informing them about the brutal torture the five-year-old boy was put through at a madrasa.
At first, the cops said they could not go ahead until the victim had been admitted in the hospital. However, even after the boy was admitted, the police did not take any action and, at the time of going to press, an FIR had still not been filed.
The 5-year-old victim was brought in from Malegaon by his mother and was admitted at Sion Hospital around 9 pm last night
As a single mother working as a domestic help in Mumbai, Mausina (name changed to protect the identity of the victim as per the POCSO Act) had hoped her two children would get a better upbringing at a madrasa
He had burn marks on his entire body
Within a month and a half of sending her five-year-old son to a madrasa in Malegaon, however, he was returned to her with a bleeding, infected eye and cigarette burns all over his body and horror stories about how he had been abused brutally by a 16-year-old student there.
She brought him to Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (LTMG) Hospital in Sion at 5.30 pm yesterday, and within half an hour, the hospital had informed the on-duty police constable that it was a case of abuse and that an FIR would have to be registered.
However, the constable and his superiors at Sion police station firmly stated that until the boy was admitted, they would not start the process of filing a case and recording statements. Senior Police Inspector Y C Gorade told mid-day, “We go by the process and the child had not been admitted.
The moment the on-duty police constable at the hospital tells us that the boy has been admitted, the duty officer will visit and record the statement of the victim and his relatives, and necessary action will be taken.”
When it was pointed out that there was no such clause in law that required hospital admission before an FIR could be filed, Gorade only said, “The admission of the patient is important for us to begin the probe.”
According to former IPS officer-turned-advocate, Y P Singh, however, the police are duty-bound to file a complaint as soon as they are notified about such a case. “The moment the police get information about a cognisable offence, they are bound to register the FIR as per Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code and proceed to the spot immediately.
In serious cases, the accused should be arrested without any delay,” he said. “The police in this case should have immediately registered a zero FIR and transferred it to the Malegaon police for further investigation, as the incident had happened there.
They cannot merely shirk their responsibility stating that the process would begin only once the child is admitted, which is legally incorrect,” Singh emphasised. Senior lawyer Dinesh Tiwari was of the same opinion. “Any delay in registering the offence not only amounts to dereliction of duty, but also gives sufficient time for the suspect to escape.
This is completely reckless of the police, who are not performing their duty; legally speaking, admission of the minor has got nothing to do with registration of the FIR,” he said. Around 9.15 pm, the survivor was admitted after a preliminary body examination.
Hospital dean Suleman Merchant informed mid-day, “The survivor was brought to the hospital with a swollen right eye and pus discharge with multiple contusions, abrasions on his back and thighs. The child has been admitted to the Ophthalmology department of the hospital.”
Hours after the child was admitted as well, the cops had not filed an FIR, and only began to take down the mother’s statement around midnight. A doctor who was present during the body exam said the child had been traumatised and was still in shock. The examination revealed burn marks on his chest, buttocks and in the anal area - thought to be cigarette burn marks.
The boy’s right eye had been injured badly by a foreign object. Due to delayed treatment, the eye had developed severe infection. As the boy was being treated, his mother Mausina told this paper about his ordeal. On August 8, she had sent him to the madrasa in Malegaon, where her older son was also studying.
12 days ago, however, the school officials called and asked her to take her kids home as her younger son’s leg was injured. Mausina told them she did not have the money to go there right away. On Monday, she got another call from the madrasa, and this time, they threatened to dump her children at a railway station if she did not collect them.
Upon reaching the madrasa, she was shocked to find her younger son bleeding from his right eye and saw that he also had a huge burn mark on his foot. When she checked his body, she also found several burn marks around his anal area and his chest. She asked the madrasa officials about it, but they said they were not aware of those injuries.
“As soon as my child saw me, he hugged me and begged me to take him away from the madrasa. He said ‘Mummy, the people here are demons not humans. They tortured me day and night and did bad things’,” said Mausina.
Her children related how a 16-year-old boy at the madarasa would allegedly take the five-year-old to the washroom in the middle of the night to bathe him and also burn him with cigarettes. When the older brother tried to intervene, the tormentor would threaten to do the same to him as well.
Forensics professor and nodal officer of the one-stop help centre for survivors of sexual violence, Dr Rajesh Dhere told this paper, “We have examined the child and prima facie, it seems to be a case of child abuse. The information has been passed on to the police station for further investigation.”