CHENNAI: The city police on Thursday arrested a 67-year-old man from Selaiyur after he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl who delivered a child in a government hospital here on Wednesday night.
The girl was an inmate of a charity home run by the son of the suspect, the police said.
The police arrested Prabhu Das, father of Immanuel, who runs a ‘charity home' (Vallamai tharayo) at Noothanchery in Madambakkam, a southern city suburb.
The victim’s mother lodged the girl in the home after the girl’s father left the family when she was just five years old.
In June this year, based on complaints from locals the police conducted enquiries at the home and found it was being run without government permission.
At the time of closure, biological parents of all the eight children were asked to come and take back their kids. The victim was also taken home by her mother, who made a living by working as a servant maid in some houses in the same neighbourhood. The girl was admitted to Kasturba Gandhi government hospital for women and children, Triplicane, a couple of days ago after she complained of ‘stomach ache’.
After the victim delivered a baby girl, hospital authorities reported the matter to police. After interacting with the girl, who named Prabhu Das as the person who sexually assaulted her in the home, the hospital informed Selaiyur police.
The police, who were familiar with the home which was closed after their intervention in June this year, picked up the sexagenarian.
Illegal orphanages and charity homes are a thriving business in Tamil Nadu, said child rights' activist Paadam' Narayanan. “These illegal institutions mushroomed to channelise funds from abroad and also from corporate social responsibility schemes of business firms,” he said. “The social welfare department which has the basic responsibility of monitoring these illegal activities failed miserably. Protection of child rights is the department’s basic duty. But the staff are busy with government schemes and had failed in their duty," he said.
‘They are our kids’
In June this year, when a group of local people wanted to know why a small house in the sleepy southern suburban Madambakkam had so many children, the house owner told them that all eight children were their own kids. There were five girls and three boys, all aged below 16. When residents sought more details , Immanuel, son of Prabhu Das, who ran the home, claimed that all the kids were their relatives’ children who are staying in Chennai for a better education, a police officer who investigated the home’s activities recalled. People were not happy with the replies from the family and had lodged a complaint with the city police commissioner who asked Selaiyur police to look into the issue. The police found that the home run by Immanuel and his wife Jyothi was an illegal one and closed it besides booking the three, including Prabhu Das for various charges. The kids were reunited with their biological parents. Two months later, one of them had delivered a girl child.
Location: Tamil Nadu