The 10-year-old girl is now under the custody of charity service Childline at a Nirbhaya home in south India.
A businessman from India was recorded sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl in a cinema with the active connivance of the minor’s mother. He has now been arrested. 60-year-old Mankunnath Moideen Kutty engaged in sexual acts with both the girl and her mother and every second of the disgusting abuse was captured by a CCTV camera, reported the Times of India.
Despite the abuse taking place on April 18, the businessman from Kerala was arrested only on Saturday. Moideen Kutty was charged under sections 9 and 10 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) act, that could at best slap a maximum jail sentence of only seven years against the accused.
A charity called Childline was given the tape by the theater’s owner, which then handed the said footage to law enforcement authorities on April 26. According to Manorama Online, the man was not detained by the police until a TV channel aired clips of the sexual assault.
However, Moideen Kutty could be subsequently charged with rape of a girl below the age of 12 due to the police probe which indicated previous abuse by the man. If the businessman is charged under those sections of the POSCO Act, he could be facing a life sentence under its recently revised provisions considering there is medical evidence to corroborate those claims.
While the captured footage reveals that the abuse didn’t involve vaginal penetration of any kind (absolving the accused of rape), Chairman of child welfare committee (CWC), Malappuram, M Manikandan, said that the committee will demand law enforcement to charge Moideen Kutty of rape section 5 of POCSO Act.
“We expect to get a copy of the victim’s statement on Monday. The CCTV visuals alone are sufficient for police to charge rape case against the accused. If police are not ready to charge a case for aggravated sexual offense, we will ask the investigation officer to add rape charges”, he said.
A harsher punishment on the accused would act as a deterrent, argued legal experts.
“It is learned that visuals provided by Childline show fingering of the child by the accused. As per the 2013 amendment to provisions of Indian Penal Code, insertion of anything into the vagina amounts to rape. Jisha’s case and a Malayalam actress’ case are examples. Invoking section 7 and 8 of POCSO Act (sexual assault) is insufficient. These facts clearly attract the offense of section 376 of Indian Penal Code (rape),” T Asaf Ali, former director general of prosecution, told the Times of India.
“As the ordinance brought in by the central government in April subsists now, it is a case in which capital punishment or life imprisonment has to be imposed,” he added.