Mumbai Crime: Teenage survivor wins lonely battle against sexually abusive father

After a year under trial, the 18-year-old survivor’s father was sentenced to two years of imprisonment under molestation charges; the survivor found no support from her mother or sister, who were also abused

A 50-year-old man was convicted by a sessions court yesterday, for molesting his daughter for two years. The case was under trial for the past year, during which the 18-year-old survivor found no support from her family members, despite the fact that, according to her, the accused had also molested her elder sister, as well as beaten up their mother when she tried to protest.

According to the survivor, her father would molest her when no one else was home. When he first began making overtures over three years ago, she was convinced that he couldn’t possibly harass his own daughter. He soon got bolder, however, and began molesting her. She complained about it to her mother, who confronted the accused and was then beaten up by him.

The accused allegedly also told the survivor, “I spend so much money on you, so let me do whatever I want.” In her statement to the police, she added that he abused her unabashedly, just as he had molested her elder sister, until she got married a year ago. At that point, her father had said, “If you get married, who will sleep with me?”

It was to her sister’s house that she had escaped when she could no longer stomach the abuse. A little over a year ago, on May 6, 2013, when the teenage survivor an engineering student came home in the evening from college, and was called to the living room by her father. He told her to watch a pornographic movie he was playing on the television.

She complained to her mother yet again, and a shouting match ensued between her parents, finally ending with her father beating and abusing them. The mother-daughter duo escaped, but two days later, the accused found them at the elder sister’s house. He hit his wife, and forced her to leave with him, forbidding the survivor to ever return home. The very same day, the survivor lodged a complaint at the Wadala police station.

It must be noted here that the chargesheet was drawn up entirely on the basis of the survivor’s account, and there was reportedly very little direct evidence. Despite her claim that her sister and mother had also suffered at the hands of her father, neither of them came to her support. In fact, her family made several attempts to deny the allegations and to have her retract her statement, but she stood determined.

While earlier she used to stay at the family home in Lal Bahadur Shastri Nagar, during the course of the investigation and court proceedings, she lived separately. Investigating officer, PSI Pradeep Suralkar of the Wadala police station said, “During the investigation and trial, the mother and sister didn’t support her, and were on the defence’s side. With the help of an NGO, the victim was sent to a hotel, where she stays now.”

The accused, who is an electrician by trade, was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and a fine of R25,000 as compensation to his daughter, by Judge S D Tulankar. He was sentenced under Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

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