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For Kamshet orphanage rape victim, Paternity test delay may mean justice denied

After Sassoon doctor concludes 13-year-old victim's advanced pregnancy makes it unsafe to conduct test, activists fear waiting till girl delivers gives culprit and others involved enough time to cover tracks.

The doctor treating the 13-year-old girl from Vidyavati Ashram in Kamshet who was raped and impregnated said a paternity test could not be conducted on her 26-week foetus, as it could be harmful to both mother and unborn baby. 


MiD DAY had reported on November 3, 2011, about how the orphanage authorities were trying to cover up the rape and impregnation of the girl. A case of rape was then registered against a 13-year-old boy on the basis of his confession. 






MiD DAY reports on the rape at the Kamshet ashram on Nov 3, 4 and 7

Taking cognizance of the MiD DAY report, Varsha Gaikwad, Minister of Women And Child Development Department, assured a paternity test would be conducted to determine the father of the unborn child. With the doctor ruling out a paternity test immediately, it is feared it will give enough time to those involved in the sexual abuse to cover up their tracks. Police said they could not proceed, until they got scientific evidence against the 13-year-old boy.

Human rights activist Dr Yamini Adbe said it was unlikely the 13-year-old boy was capable of impregnating a girl. "After this report by Sassoon, authorities will need to wait till the baby is delivered. By the time the paternity test report reaches investigative authorities, it will be at least four months. This is enough time for those who might be involved in sexually abusing the girl to cover their tracks," said Adbe. 

Considering the possible harm to the 13-year-old girl and her unborn baby, ministry officials said instructions would be issued to competent authority to provide utmost security to the victim who has now been shifted to another orphanage.

One of the members of the inquiry committee pointed out some irregularities in Vidyavati Ashram. It was brought to the notice of the committee that 14 children had been shifted from Vidyavati Ashram in the past three years. Some were shifted to another orphanage and some children were handed over to their guardians permanently. 
The members were earlier told that no one had visited the children in the last seven years and that their parents were dead. The ashram had not done any follow-up on the children and no records were maintained on who took away the children. 

The member said the committee was not shown any documents about the children. According to orphanage rulebook, destitute kids are first reported to the police and through juvenile court they are handed over to the orphanages. If the child is brought directly to an orphanage, then it is the duty of the orphanage authorities to report it to the police.

The lady caretaker Savita Thakur who keeps a register of the menstruation cycle of the girls, as is mandatory, admitted to the inquiry committee that orphanage authorities asked her to sign all the notings at one go, claiming the government would come to the ashram to enquire into the incident.

The inquiry committee also noticed irregularities in the affidavit shown by the school where the suspect named by the ashram studies. It said 53 students were admitted by the name of Agarwal. Another affidavit claimed the children were so named for adoption. But adoption laws does not allow a person to adopt 50 children, and this pointed towards illegal adoption, said a inquiry committee member. 

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