The move to deliver justice in a case of alleged rape of a minor boy in Tengnoupal district in October is in chaos as the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Tengnoupal chairperson has reportedly resigned from his post following pressure from locals and family of the victim, sources said.
The locals and family members want justice through a customary system, while the CWC wants it through the court of law even as the police are reportedly slow on it, the sources said.
The minor boy was allegedly raped at a village in Tengnoupal district on October 14. An FIR was lodged at the Moreh Police Station on the day itself under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, but proper investigation was not carried out.
The police department brought the victim boy to CWC Tengnoupal district.
According to an application submitted by the police department to CWC Tengnoupal, the FIR was lodged by the victim's grandmother on the day of the incident, the sources said.
As per the complainant report, the incident happened when the victim was returning to his home after buying things from the shop. The accused caught him and raped him at his resident.
Considering the safety of the victim, the CWC Tengnoupal admitted the victim in one children’s home under Tengnoupal district.
The local community leaders are making efforts to resolve the heinous crime through customary laws, the sources told the Imphal Free Press.
CWC Tengnoupal chairperson Michael Thomas informed the IFP that the FIR of the incident was lodged on October 14 and they received the report on October 22. As the victim is a vulnerable child that needs proper care and support, they decided to admit him in a children’s home. However, pressure is being put upon him by the family, relatives and local community leaders to release the victim from the children’s home, Thomas said.
“On one side, I have been facing untold pressure from local leaders relating to this case as they would like to settle through customary laws. On the other, being an employee, I have to honour the instruction of seniors and law and order. As such my condition is like that of being between the sea and the devil. But in the interest of children, I will not release him from home, rather I will submit my resignation letter,” he stated.
When enquired about the case to the officer-in-charge of police station where FIR was lodged, the OC said that the statement of victim was taken but medical examination and other related investigations are yet to be conducted. Due to pressure from the family side, they are unable to continue the investigation process smoothly. Even the family members of the victim approached them to withdraw the FIR. However, the police department objected to doing so, the OC said.
While assuring them to arrest the culprit, he said that they won’t give up the case until the culprit(s) are arrested. They will not compromise the case with customary law, the OC said.
Observing the condition of the minor victim by visiting the children's home, the Imphal Free Press found that the minor boy seems to be a vulnerable child raised up in a broken family. He is in a dilemma whether to go back home or to stay in the children's home. From this visit, staff of District Child Protection Unit, Chandel had come to the children's home twice to meet the victim.