- A group of eight women have started guarding the entrance of the block
- "The danger is within," said one of the residents of the complex
- An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by 17 staff of the complex
A day after 17 men, staff of a posh apartment complex in Chennai, were arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl, about 250 families are worried for their safety. The residents say they are horrified and feel betrayed. No guards were seen around the complex. Till they decide whether to replace the security agency or replace the staff, a group of eight women residents have started guarding the entrance of the block.
"They used to smile, salute and we trusted them. Plumbers had free access to our homes. Now we are scared. They can knock us down anytime. Earlier, we concerned about danger lurking outside, now the danger is within," said one of the residents.
She added that she won't enter the swimming pool or gym if there are no residents around.
"We need to install CCTVs everywhere and ensure that they work," she added.
An elderly resident of the complex is shocked and can't believe that nobody had any idea about what these men were up to. No child is left alone in the block now, he said.
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has asked for the girl to be sent to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
A child rights activist had told the judges that the girl was raped for several weeks and requires psychological support and counseling prompting the court to issue the direction. The court also pulled up the Chennai Police for violating norms and demanded to know why the girl wasn't brought before the committee.
It's not clear yet if the CWC would let the child be with her parents.
The girl was allegedly sedated and given spiked soft drinks by the attackers, who included security guards, electricians and plumbers.
The 66-year-old lift operator was the first to assault the girl, the police said. He allegedly invited others, who filmed each other raping the child. The cycle of abuse continued. The police say she was threatened and blackmailed with videos of the assault.
The accused allegedly took the girl to various places in the complex, including the basement, terrace, gym and public restrooms. Even though the complex has a network of CCTV cameras, the police say many do not function allowing the men to pick uncovered areas for the assault.
The girl confided in her elder sister, who told their parents and a complaint was filed on Sunday. The men were arrested the next day.
They were thrashed by lawyers and others when they were taken to court. Lawyers have also refused to represent the accused in court.