, Chennai woke up to the news that a 11-year-old child had been sexually assaulted by multiple men at a gated community in the Ayanavaram area. Seventeen alleged perpetrators ranging from a 66-year-old liftman to many security guards in their twenties were arrested by the All Women’s Police station in the locality on Monday. Shock swept across the city over the sheer impunity of the crime.
The gated community where the survivor Priya* lives has at least 350 houses, divided into multiple blocks. Reports suggested that Priya, who was hearing impaired, was raped first by the liftman who often cornered her when she would come back from school. He then began to invite other handymen and security guards, all on contracts, to harass the young girl. Sedatives were allegedly administered to the girl. According to the police, the minor had been subjected to this abuse for the last 7 months. She was even filmed as the men sexually assaulted her and was later blackmailed with the video.
It was when her older sister returned home from outside the city that the girl opened up. Her horrified family rushed to the police station to give a complaint on Sunday. "They even threatened the child at knife point," confirms E Rajeshwari, Inspector (Law and Order) at the Ayanavaram station. She was part of the team that arrested the 17 men. "This is the worst crime this world has seen yet, as far as I am concerned. Few of them raped her; some have fondled her during this act. Some others have sexually harassed her, while others have watched the assault video. They are all guilty because not one of them tried to stop this brutality. They will all be punished, “she says angrily.
Amongst the 17 men, three of them are in their 60s, four in their 50s, three over 40 and others in their 30s and 20s.
They have been booked under sections 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault), 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) and 12 (punishment for sexual harassment upon a child) of the POCSO Act and sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to police sources, 18 contractual workers were pi