Patan ‘torture’ case: 24, including girl’s father, held; minister visits survivor

A video that went viral shows the girl's head being shaved after tying up her hands. Her face was blackened with soot and a hot pan was seen placed on her tonsured head.

Days after a 13-year-old Patan girl was paraded in her village after being tonsured and her face blackened allegedly for being in a relationship with a man, police have arrested 24 persons, including the father of the survivor, until Sunday.

According to police, the incident occurred on November 10 when the minor was restrained by more than 35 men from her community. A video that went viral shows the girl’s head being shaved after tying up her hands. Her face was blackened with soot and a hot pan was seen placed on her tonsured head before being paraded in the village as part of the primitive “punishment” meted out by men of her community, including the father.

By Sunday, police arrested 24 accused, including the survivor’s father and the man with whom she had allegedly eloped.

In the video, which surfaced on social media Friday, the child was seen crying for help as the men who surrounded her jeered and paraded her in captivity. Furthermore, the victim was married off to a man the same day by her father and other male relatives, the police said.

“The girl has been shifted to Sakhi one-stop shelter in Patan. She has been given counselling and is now recovering from the trauma. We are taking good care of her,” said Akshay Raj Makwana, Patan superintendent of police.

Meanwhile, Gujarat’s minister of state (MoS) for women and child development Manisha Vakil met the minor Saturday evening. “The inhuman act committed against the Patan girl is highly condemnable. I have met the victim (sic) and assured her of all the assistance and justice at the earliest,” tweeted Vakil.

According to the police, the child was in a relationship with a man from her village and had eloped to a nearby town two days after Diwali. They were caught by a few village men near a bus stand in the town and were forcibly brought back. The man was also given a similar treatment separately as the girl. The girl, who was restrained in her house before being paraded, was later married off to another man.

Two FIRs have been lodged in the matter. In the first, 35 men from the victim’s community have been booked under the Indian Penal Code sections 143 for unlawful assembly, 323 for causing hurt, 341 and 342 for wrongful restrain, 509 for insulting the modesty of a woman and sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Prevention of Child Marriage Act. In another FIR, the 18-year-old man who had allegedly eloped with the victim has been booked under IPC sections 363 for kidnapping, 366 for kidnapping a woman to compel her for marriage, 376 (3) for raping a woman repeatedly and sections of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

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