India rape: Child’s baby ‘was fathered by second uncle’

India rape: Child's baby 'was fathered by second uncle'

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Campaigners say 50% of abusers are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers”

A second uncle of a 10-year-old Indian child who gave birth to a baby girl in August is the father of her child, police have confirmed to the BBC.

He is the younger brother of the uncle who was arrested earlier and charged with raping the girl.

Police began looking for a second suspect after forensic tests revealed that the baby’s DNA samples did not match those of the first accused.

The next hearing in the case will be held at a local court later on Tuesday.

“It’s true the DNA sample has matched that of the uncle,” Chandigarh senior superintendent of police Neelambari Vijay told BBC Punjabi’s Arvind Chhabra.

She added that they were rushing to file charges against him in the court.

However, the first uncle will remain in custody as he is believed to have also abused the child.

The BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi says the harrowing case of the 10-year-old has made headlines for weeks, both in India and globally.

Her pregnancy was discovered in mid-July when she complained of a stomach ache and her parents took her to hospital.

A local court in Chandigarh turned down the abortion plea on the grounds that she was too far into her pregnancy after a doctors’ panel advised that termination of the pregnancy would be “too risky”. Later, the Supreme Court also refused to allow an abortion for her on similar grounds.

Indian law does not allow terminations after 20 weeks unless doctors certify that the mother’s life is in danger.

The girl was not aware of her pregnancy, and was told her bulge was because she had a stone in her stomach, our correspondent adds. She gave birth in August and the baby was given away to child welfare authorities for adoption.

The girl initially told police and child welfare activists that she had been raped several times in the past seven months by the first uncle to be placed under arrest, who is in his 40s.

She had also testified to the court by video link and very clearly named the uncle and revealed facts about her abuse.

The girl’s father had told the BBC that the first uncle had not denied the charges against him. Police also said he had admitted to the allegations.

But after his DNA test results did not link him to the baby, police began searching for more suspects – and arrested a second uncle of the girl’s in September.

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India is home to 400 million children

The country’s courts have received several petitions in recent months, many from child rape survivors, seeking permission to abort.

In most cases, these pregnancies are discovered late because the children themselves are not aware of their condition.

Earlier this month, a 13-year-old girl was given court permission to terminate her pregnancy at 32 weeks. The boy she was carrying was born alive in Mumbai but died two days later.

In May, a similar case was reported from the northern state of Haryana where a 10-year-old, allegedly raped by her stepfather, was allowed to abort. She was about 20 weeks pregnant, doctors said.

None of the girls can be named for legal reasons.

The scale of abuse in India

  • A child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours
  • More than 10,000 children were raped in 2015
  • 240 million women living in India were married before they turned 18
  • 53.22% of children who participated in a government study reported some form of sexual abuse
  • 50% of abusers are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers”

Sources: Indian government, Unicef

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