'Explore schooling options for rape victim'

The High Court on Thursday directed the State government to explore possibilities for making alterative arrangements for the schooling of 13-year-old Salma (name changed), who gave birth to a baby after she was raped by her father’s employee.

The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate B N Vijay Kumar, who has sought a detailed report from the government on the increasing cases of rape and gang rape in the State, Advocate Ramananda, representing Salma, requested the bench to include Salma’s case in the same batch. Salma has filed a PIL petition in the High Court alleging that she was asked to quit the Government Urdu Primary School after she gave birth to a baby boy.

When the Bench allowed Ramananda to make his submission, the advocate said the family members of Salma were being targeted by some vested interests after she raised her voice for justice.

“Syed Karim, father of Salma, has been assaulted and local police have not taken the
matter seriously,” he said.

However, the Bench asked the advocate to stick to the issue of justice to Salma and directed the State government to check whether there were options for Salma to continue her studies. The case has been adjourned to December 6.

Salma, who was raped by her father’s employee at her house during Dasara holidays last year, has a seven-month-old child. Following the rape, her complaints of stomach ache were diagnosed as appendicitis by no less than three doctors and she was prescribed tablets. It was on April 14 this year, that she and her illiterate parents came to know that she was pregnant, after she underwent an ultrasound scan. On the way to hospital, Salma gave birth to the baby in an autorickshaw. Later, she was admitted in a government hospital.

More problems started for Salma when she went back to school. None of the children spoke with her and the school management allegedly asked her to quit. Finally, with the help of an advocate, she managed to file a PIL in the High Court.

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