In yet another minor rape case, a nine-year-old girl was raped by her stepfather Sharafat Saha at her house near Nagpada in the heart of Mumbai. The 33-year old Saha has since been arrested.
The incident came to light when the members of an NGO called Prerna that looks after children of commercial sex workers in Nagpada, became suspicious when the nine-year-old girl under their care stopped getting any sleep at night. The child stayed at the NGO’s premises most of the time.
A gentle probe revealed that while her mother was away, her stepfather had raped her repeatedly at their house. After his arrest, Saha was sent to judicial custody by a Mazgaon metropolitan court.
The girl studies in class 3 at a municipal school. The daughter of a sex worker from Kamathipura, she has been under the care of the NGO, Prerna for the past two years. Functioning at Kamathipura since 1986, Prerna also has a night creche and volunteers look after the health and education of 110 kids (70 of them girls) of sex workers. After returning from school every evening, the girl would have dinner at the Prerna office and sleep there overnight. In the morning, she would go to her mother’s place for some time, before heading for school at noon.
Prerna volunteers were concerned when the child suddenly stopped getting any sleep at night. They asked her mother who said the girl wouldn’t sleep during daytime either. Doctors were called and a medical examination was conducted, but the cause of the problem couldn’t be detected.
At last, the senior members of the NGO decided to speak to the girl. After a gentle probe, they learnt that she had been raped by her stepfather at home a month ago.
Her mother had left town at that time, and Saha did not send the girl to the Prerna office for five days on the pretext that she was unwell. He had later warned her to keep mum about the incident and threatened to kill her mother, if she spoke to anybody about what had happened. She had started losing sleep as everytime she imagined Saha to be in the same room near her.