A fast-track court in India has convicted two men of raping a 10-year-old girl who gave birth to a baby girl in August.Both were child’s uncles.
The harrowing case of the 10-year-old has made headlines for weeks, both in India and globally.She was 30 weeks pregnant when a local court in Chandigarh turned down her abortion plea on the grounds that her pregnancy was too advanced. A doctors’ panel had advised that a medical termination would be “too risky”. Later, the Supreme Court also refused to allow an abortion for her on similar grounds.
The second uncle was arrested after the baby’s DNA sample did not match that of his older brother, the first suspect.The older uncle’s trial took a month, while the younger uncle has been convicted in a remarkable 18-day trial.
The girl was not aware of her pregnancy, and was told her bulge was because she had a stone in her stomach. She gave birth in August and the baby was given away to child welfare authorities for adoption.
The girl initially told police and child welfare activists that she had been raped several times in the past seven months by the first uncle, who is in his 40s.She had also testified to the court by video link and very clearly named the uncle and revealed details about her abuse.The first uncle admitted the charges laid against him.
But after his DNA test results did not link him to the baby, police began searching for more suspects – and arrested the second uncle in September. A DNA test confirmed that he was the baby’s father.
India’s courts have received several petitions in recent months, many from child rape survivors, seeking permission to abort.In most cases, these pregnancies are discovered late because the children themselves are not aware of their condition.