In a shocking case of abuse, a 16-year-old student from a Thane college was forcibly married off to an HIV+ patient by her mother based in Kalwa, Mumbai, police said.
Cops said the mother would bind her hands and stuff a piece of cloth into her mouth to allow the husband to rape her. If she resisted, she would be battered by the duo, they added.
"On many occasions I was beaten with bamboo sticks. When I still refused to give up, my mother forced me to have cold drinks laced with sedatives so that he could rape me," the girl said in her statement to Childline NGO.
According to the police, the matter came to light when the victim approached the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) through a former teacher. Based on her statement to the CWC committee, the panel asked the Kalwa police to register an FIR.
As per the victim's statement to the police and the panel, the accused who is in his early 30s, is a distant kin of the family and had been staying in their neighbourhood for several years. The girl alleged that he would support the family financially and had been paying for her education.
Dragged back home
On May 23, the accused allegedly put forth a marriage proposal and the victim's indebted mother could not resist. The girl said, despite her protests, she was forced to marry the accused. Her age was allegedly manipulated and the ceremony took place at a temple in south Mumbai, she added.
"After hearing talk of my marriage, I tried to escape from the house. But my mother chased me till the station and forced me to get off the train. She consumed phenyl to blackmail me into staying. I was left with no option but to marry this guy, knowing full well that he was HIV-positive," the victim stated.
The girl said she was forced into a physical relationship with the accused after marriage. She added that if she refused, her mother would pin her down and muzzle her while the accused forced himself on her. She was allegedly beaten black and blue by them. At times, he'd lock her up in the room.
When the accused realised the victim would not accept him as husband, he divorced her on August 1 and stopped supporting the family financially, the girl said. This angered her mother, who began torturing the victim even more.
The victim finally confided about the abuse to her college principal, who helped her to get in touch with Childline functionaries, and the matter was brought to the notice of the CWC.
On Saturday, she was produced before the CWC and referred for medical tests, which confirmed that she was being raped. The panel then asked the Kalwa police station to file an FIR.
"We have booked the victim's mother as well as the accused, who are on the run. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the mother also had an affair with her neighbour. We have got the address of their native place and teams are on the way to arrest them," said Inspector Dhule of Kalwa police station.
The two accused have been booked under sections 376, 323, 534 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code and several sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.