In a shocking incident, a nine-year-old boy has been charged with the rape of a six-year-old girl in Maithi, Pilibhit. Medical examination of the girl on Friday confirmed the sexual assault.
A case has also been registered against the boy under the SC/ST Act as the girl belongs to the Jatav community.
Nirmal Bisht, the circle officer who is investigating the case, told TOI, "We have presented the boy in front of the magistrate. He has been sent to the juvenile home in Bareilly. The boy has accepted the charges and medical examination of the girl has confirmed rape. The age of the boy is yet to be confirmed but can't be more than 10 years."
The incident took place on Thursday, when the two children were playing in a field. The brother of the girl told TOI, "My sister, who is around six years old, went out to buy chocolate when the boy asked her to play with him. He took her to a nearby field, where he raped her. When my sister returned after some time, she was crying in pain and bleeding. She narrated her entire ordeal to us."
According to the police, the boy, who along with his family, had been on the run since the incident came to light on Thursday, was caught on Friday. "The boy looked quite scared. His first reaction to police questioning was, 'khel khel mai ho gaya' (we were just playing)," said Dalbeer Verma, station officer, Neuria police station. "It is really unbelievable as I wasn't convinced with the allegations of rape by a nine-year-old kid, but he admitted to the charges."
Parents of the girl alleged that cops were reluctant to file the FIR and acted only after a group of people from the Jatav community protested outside the police station. Verma, however, explained that cops were initially reluctant to lodge an FIR as the allegations sound unbelievable. "But since the matter comes under the SC/ST Act, we filed the complaint."
According to activists, there has been a drastic increase in the number of juvenile crimes in the country. A Bareilly-based woman activist, Praveen Bhandari, said, "Children are over-exposed to pornography on internet, TV and movies."
State president of All India Democratic Women's Association Madhu Garg said, "There is a need to provide counselling to children and give them proper sex education. In most of the instances of juvenile crimes related to rape, it has been observed that children, who reside in one-room houses, are exposed to sex from an early age. In the absence of proper guidance, it creates a desire for sex among minors, which may instigate child rape."