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Kerala: 29 cases filed over sexual abuse of girl, 18 held

Police have registered 29 cases pertaining to sexual abuse of a minor girl in Malappuram district. They said 18 people have been arrested under POCSO Act, and a probe is on to ascertain the actual number of accused.

The girl, who was staying with her brother, went missing last month. Days later, police took the girl into custody, and subsequent counselling by the Chief Welfare Committee (CWC) brought to light the sexual abuse.

Police said the girl was first abused in 2016 and was lodged in a shelter home run by CWC. But, acting on a petition from her parents, the CWC allowed the family custody of the girl.

After a second POCSO case pertaining to her in 2017, the CWC shifted the girl to a government shelter, but her brother sought her custody. “As her family members were not involved in the case, the CWC allowed her custody to her brother in October 2019,” said a police source.

Last month, the girl went missing from her brother’s house. While probing the case, the police took the girl into custody from Palakkad. During CWC counselling, the girl reportedly said she was abused several times. Based on her statements, the police registered 29 cases and arrested 18 people.

CWC chairperson Shajesh Bhasker said, “As per Juvenile Justice Act, a rescue home should be the last resort… Her family was not involved in the alleged incidents. It was counselling by CWC that led to the expose of abuse.”

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