Goa police trying to hush up another minor’s rape?

December 10th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 10 (IANS) The Goa police, already drawing flak for their handling of a German minor’s rape involving a state minister’s son, are in a controversy again, this time over another minor girl’s alleged rape.The alleged crime surfaced last week when the victim was admitted to the Goa Medical College Hospital on the outskirts of Panaji and gave birth to bay girl on Dec 3.

While the police have admitted they knew about the girl’s predicament, they feigned helplessness. Police sources said the accused in this case is a relative of a legislator and that was the reason the police were not taking any action.

“They (the victim and her family) don’t want to complain against anybody. What can we do?” said inspector Gurudas Gawde, who heads the Old Goa police station.

Sub-divisional police officer Sammy Tavares told IANS the police could not do anything in the case because neither the victim nor any of her relatives has lodged a complaint.

“There is no complaint from anyone. The girl has completed 16 years. She is 17 and a half years now. If she was 16 and below and even if the intercourse was with consent, we would have booked a case,” Tavares said, arguing that 16 years was the legal age for sexual consent.

Nishtha Desai, director of leading group Child Rights Goa (CRG), rubbished the police argument. She said it was the duty of the police to register a complaint against the accused under the Goa Children’s Act 2003.

“The police should have suo moto taken cognisance of the case and probed it as soon as they received the information, because it involved a minor. Also, under the Goa Children’s Act, any officer of the government can file a complaint with the police if the victim is a minor. The police should at least start probing the matter,” Desai said.

The case reminds of the crucial 12-day delay by the police in registering a complaint filed by the mother of the 14-year-old German victim. A complaint filed on Oct 2 was formally registered as a first information report (FIR) only on Oct 14 after the German Consul General wrote to the state administration.

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