Priest severely imprisoned for raping a 12-Year-Old minor girl in Kerala.

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With the number of rape cases increased in the country still this topic is counted in just another filed case in the police station. On one hand people are demanding for justice and by the time the culprit is put behind bars another one comes up. On one end the topics like women empowerments are taken on long time discussions and on the other end on every other day the number of cases registered under exploitation of women is increasing to heights. One such case has come up in kerala where Christian priest has sentenced to 40yrs in prison for repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl at the church where he worked.

.The 37-year-old Sanil K. James was a pastor of the Salvation Army Church in Peechi, was convicted under the section 376 (2) f of IPC, and sections 4 and 5 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, read with Section 6 of the same Act of raping and sexually assaulting the girl at a Salvation Army church in Kerala’s Thrissur in 2014. This brutal incident happened when the victim had gone to the pastor’s residence to give out herbal medicine for treating his child. When judge recalled in his order he said, “the girl and her siblings were with the child of the convict, when he with evil motive to distract other children switched on TV and allowed them to watch shows. Convict then took the victim to the adjacent room and closed the doors to commit the crime.”

[su_expand more_text=”READ MORE” less_text=” ” height=”0″ hide_less=”yes” link_style=”button” link_align=”center”] The so called pastor was also being investigated for the alleged rape of another girl who was studying in seventh standard, at his presbytery (official residence) during the summer vacation in April 2014.  The later sexual assault case, as prosecutor Mathew said was on a minor SC/ST girl.

The Child Welfare Committee had filed a complaint against the pastor, before the police started the investigation on the issue. According to the Prosecutors, James had raped the girl, now aged 13, several times inside the church complex over a period of two months.

Thrissur’s first additional district sessions court judge K P Sudheer has ordered that he should not get reduction and also imposed a fine of Rs. 20,000. He is also condemned to two 20-year sentences, one under the stringent POCSO act and one under a separate section of the criminal law covering the rape of children. Under the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) 357(a) the victim will also be paid Rs 3, 00,000 reportedly from the Victim Compensation Fund of the state government.

Ms Smriti Minocha, director of the women’s justice initiative at the Human Rights Law Network, a Delhi-based NGO, said that the court normally gives the life sentences to rape convicts but in this case it was highly unusual in a country and 40 years jail is exceptional too.” As said by the Special prosecutor Pious Mathew, “The court said the priest deserved the maximum punishment for this cruel act and this was a unique sentence”.

Child sexual abuse is common in homes, schools and residential care facilities across India and authorities have a poor record in bringing them to justice. Focusing on the Child abuse cases in India Activist Smriti added that, “Most of the cases of child sexual abuse remain unregistered; it’s only grave acts like rape and molestation which are reported”. Record of India’s national crime bureau says More than 18,000 children were sexually assaulted in 2014.

It is said that this was the first time such harsh punishment has been given to an accused in the state under the POCSO Act. We Indians could take it as a positive sign in such cases and public will now rightly wait for the justice for all such cases in India. Criminals should be always strictly punished regardless of what position he or she holds in the society.

Proving it right, this is a pastor’s issue in Kerala. It is one of the shocking as well as terrifying issue of widespread violence and sexual abuse of children. Whatever happened actually was worst but convict is paying for it now, that’s what will make people believe in Law. Say “NO” to crime and let criminals understand well that general public is not going to take it henceforth.[/su_expand]

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