‘Will not let others go scot-free’

Edgy and nervous, a 47- year-old mother sat in court hoping to see security guard Telam Singh (60) being convicted for sexually abusing her daughter.

She also wanted the child's class teacher Alison Miranda and caretaker Shaila Mhatre to be convicted for beating and intimidating the child. However, when the court acquitted the latter for want of evidence, she broke down.

Singh was sentenced for seven years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 25,000, which has to be given to the victim's family as compensation. "This man (Singh) is responsible. But what about those who tortured my child and asked us to keep mum? Are they not the custodians of my kid," she said in court.

Weeping inconsolably, the mother said, "My child is not safe."

The victim was studying at Santacruz's Kalina Education Society at the time of the incident, and later shifted to another school. "The police and the school shielded those people (accused). If the police were to register my complaint and the school were to ensure justice was done, they (Miranda and Mhatre) would not have been acquitted," she said.

"These people are very influential. They have tried every tactic to hush up the case. They even reached the school where my child now studies and tried to intimidate us," the mother told the court.

The child had to undergo psychological treatment. "She was our first case for the victim's support programme that Majlis had started. The child was in a bad state. Her mother, too, had to be given psycho-social counseling to understand legal processes. It was not easy," said advocate Flavia Agnes from NGO Majlis.

Determined to fight, the complainant said, "I will fight till the end. I will go to the higher court and seek justice. I cannot let them go scot-free. They have played as serious a role in the case as Singh."

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