Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hearing-impaired 11-year-old raped for months in Chennai, 17 arrested

Police said the girl was first sexually assaulted by a 66-year-old lift operator after she returned from school and was cycling around the complex and later several others joined in the assault. He allegedly invited other men who filmed each other raping the child.

Police personnel outside Mahila court as the 17 people accused in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 11-year-old girl were produced at Madras high court, in Chennai on July 17.(PTI Photo)

Chennai police on Tuesday arrested 17 men including security guards, electricians and plumbers who allegedly raped an 11-year-old hearing impaired girl in an apartment block over the past seven months.

All the accused were produced in the Saidapet Mahila court where some of them were beaten up by a group of lawyers as public anger and shock at the child’s assault spiralled. In a video of the assault, which has gone viral, a group of men in white shirts and black trousers are seen dragging a man from a staircase, beating him with fists and kicking him on his stomach while police personnel struggled to protect the accused.

Charged with raping a minor, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), the court sent all the accused to judicial custody till July 31.

The police said they are looking out for a few more suspects involved in the crime that has left Chennai shocked and furious.

“We are taking it as a special case and working on it,” a police officer said.

Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) announced that no advocate will appear for the arrested members. “We have requested the legal fraternity to stay away from appearing for the accused and we will also appeal against the state legal aid services if they move the mandatory bail petition for the accused,” said MHAA president G. Mohana Krishnan.

Police said the girl was first sexually assaulted by a 66-year-old lift operator after she returned from school and was cycling around the complex and later several others joined in the assault. He allegedly invited other men who filmed each other raping the child.

The accused allegedly took the girl to various places in the complex including the basement, terrace, gym and public restrooms to rape her.

The officer said the victim identified all the accused. At least four of them have confessed to the assault and two others said they had molested the girl, the official added.

The girl’s parents lodged a complaint on Monday with the All Women Police Station in Vepery after which police swung into action. Based on the complaint, police first arrested a lift man and picked up two of his accomplices on the intervening night of Monday-Tuesday.

“With the investigations leading to more suspects, a total of 24 are to be charged under rape,” a senior police official told HT. Special teams have been formed to nab the absconding suspects, he said.

The girl has been referred to a government hospital for medical examination and the reports will soon be filed in the court, the official said.

According to police, the victim is a second daughter of a north Indian family settled in Chennai. The girl’s father in his complaint said that his daughter was suffering from periodic stomach aches and enquiries by her mother revealed that the child was sexually abused by a group of men from January 15 to July 5, the complaint said adding that the gang threatened the victim with dire consequences.

The child is also said to have been sedated a couple of times and this charge will be added only after a thorough investigation. Some used syringes have been picked up from the apartment for forensic examination. Police are also examining CCTV camera footage of the apartment block. Some of the arrested allegedly took nude pictures of the victim and the mobile phones of all those arrested are being examined, police said.

Tamil Nadu Association for the rights of differently-abled and caregivers (TARATDAC) condemned the sexual attack and demanded capital punishment for the offenders. “Sexual attacks against differently-abled go unchecked in TN. Recently a 17 year old girl who cannot hear was raped and killed in a village at Sivaganga district. Now, an 11-year-old child with hearing impairment has been abused,” said S Namburajan, state general secretary, TARATDAC.

The crime dominated Twitter under the hashtag Chennaihorror. “Rape itself is a heinous crime but repeated rape of a differently abled child calls for a death sentence,” tweeted political commentator Sumanth Raman.

PMK founder Dr Ramadoss also condemned the sexual attack on the child and urged the parents to spend quality time with their kids, so that such attacks are avoided.

The crime is the latest in a series of rape of minors in the country. Earlier this month, a 99-year-old retired school principal was arrested in Chennai for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girlwhile a 38-year-old man allegedly assaulted the 14-month-old daughter of his nephew in Vidisha near Bhopal on Saturday.

Russian tourist gang-raped in Tiruvannamalai, 6 held

A 21-year-old Russian woman was allegedly drugged and gang-raped in a service apartment on a visit to the pilgrimage town of Tiruvannamalai, around 190km southwest of Chennai, police said on Tuesday.

Investigators detained six men for questioning after one of them took the unconscious woman to a hospital on Monday evening and a doctor who examined her alerted the Tiruvannamalai Town police.

Sub-inspector J Illavarasi registered a case under Indian Penal Code Section 376 (rape) and Section 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) and police have started an investigation.

Police identified four of the six detained as Dharani alias Bharathy, 31, and his brother Neelakandan, 35, of Vedanatham, and Manikandan, 37, and Venkatesan, 39, of Tiruvannamalai town.

“The Russian national checked into a hotel after arriving in Tiruvannamalai a week ago,” a police officer said. “She moved to a service apartment on the girivalam path on July 12.”

“The woman hired a cab and visited an ashram and a temple the following day. Locals said they last saw her outside the apartment on Saturday morning,” he said.

“On Monday evening, one of the accused took her to a hospital, where he told a doctor that he had found her in an unconscious state in the neighbourhood.”

Police moved the woman to Government Medical College and Hospital, Tiruvannamalai, where a medical test confirmed rape. “A medical report said she had bite marks on her face and hands and scratch marks on her upper body,” an officer, quoting a police statement, said.

‘Belongings and cash of the woman were intact’

A district official, quoting a police report, said, “The report also confirmed sexual abuse.”

Investigators said they seized drugs from the apartment that the woman had taken on rent but could not immediately state what drugs they were.

During questioning, one of the six suspects told police that he accompanied the woman to the temple and ashram in the town on Friday.

“He said she invited him to the apartment on Saturday night,” the police officer said. “They had consensual sex that night and the following day. He claims that he found her unconscious when he returned to the apartment on Monday evening after going out to buy vegetables and fruits for her.” “The woman has regained consciousness but she has not been forthcoming even when we communicated through an interpreter,” the official said. “She found that her belongings and cash were intact. She had left ₹60,000 in Indian currency and $35,000 in the apartment.” Vellore deputy inspector general of police V Vanitha and Tiruvannamalai superintendent of police R Ponni are speaking to the woman, he said.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

France will face England or Croatia in the World Cup final

France will face England or Croatia in the World Cup final after edging past European neighbours Belgium in the semi-final in St Petersburg.

Defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal for the 1998 champions in the second half with a towering header from Antoine Griezmann's corner.
Didier Deschamps' side were on the back foot for large periods of the game, but emerged victorious to reach their third final, having been beaten by Italy on penalties in 2006.
Belgium came through the quarter-finals by impressively beating Brazil, but they were unable to find the equaliser, as Axel Witsel's powerful, long-range drive was pushed away by Hugo Lloris, who also brilliantly kept out Toby Alderweireld's turn and shot.
At the final whistle, the France substitutes ran on the pitch to celebrate with the players, while manager Deschamps was mobbed by his staff before dancing around in a circle.
England play Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in the second semi-final on Wednesday (kick-off 19:00 BST) and the final takes places at the same venue on Sunday (16:00 BST).
Twenty years ago, France won the World Cup for the first and only time in their history at home in Paris with a 3-0 win over Brazil.
That team was captained by Deschamps, who is now aiming to emulate Brazilian Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer by winning the competition as both a player and manager.
Deschamps was a holding midfielder in his day and his France side have come to characterise his playing style of functionality over flair by adopting a conservative game.
Belgium had 64% possession in the match but France kept their shape, played on the counter-attack and constantly looked to forward Kylian Mbappe, who was a threat throughout with his darting runs and trickery with the ball.
The teenager, who announced himself on the global stage by scoring twice against Argentina in the last 16, played a sublime flick to put Olivier Giroud in on goal, but the Chelsea man saw his shot blocked from close range.
Although Giroud has now had 13 shots in the tournament without finding the target, he is likely to keep his place in the starting XI for the final.
Deschamps has been questioned for continuing to deploy Giroud up front in his side and has been asked why a place cannot be found for other attacking talents such as Ousmane Dembele or Thomas Lemar.
But he has answered the critics with a run to a second consecutive major tournament final after Euro 2016, when they were beaten in extra-time by Portugal.
Once France went ahead on 50 minutes they rarely looked like conceding and Belgium went out with a bit of a whimper.

Golden generation unable to deliver

Ranked among one of the pre-tournament favourites, there was optimism that Belgium's 'golden generation' of players containing skipper Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku could finally deliver silverware for their country.
But the win in the previous round against five-time winners Brazil proved to be their peak, and they suffered heartbreak in a major tournament once more.
The Red Devils lost in the quarter-final of both the previous World Cup and the European Championship and their second World Cup semi-final appearance ended in defeat, just like in 1986 against a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina.
The team's 24-match unbeaten run stretching back to September 2016 also came to an end, as manager Roberto Martinez suffered a first loss in a competitive game.
Ten of the 11 starters were Premier League-based and one of those - striker Lukaku of Manchester United, who was excellent against Brazil, was left stifled by France's excellent centre-back pairing of Umtiti and Raphael Varane. Lukaku had just 22 touches on the ball in the whole match - the least of any player who started.
Manchester City's De Bruyne was unable to dictate the game and although skipper Hazard started brightly, fizzing a low shot narrowly wide and another deflecting over, he too drifted out of the game.
Belgium's only consolation is that they still have one game left to play in the tournament - Saturday's third/fourth place play-off against the loser from the England v Croatia encounter.

Anything to fear for England or Croatia?

England beat Sweden to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990

One place is sorted and one remains up for grabs for Sunday's showpiece.
England against Croatia is an evenly matched contest and the Three Lions are looking to reach the final for the first time since 1966, where they won the competition on home soil.
Balkans nation Croatia saw their best performance come in 1998 when they finished third by beating the Netherlands in the play-off match. The French will start as favourites to claim the trophy but who will they face?
"I expect England to beat Croatia," former Scotland winger Pat Nevin said on BBC Radio 5 live."They are more powerful, and they will cause France problems."
Former Premier League striker Dion Dublin said: "England will be thinking 'oh dear, France are quite good'. Belgium were OK, but not as good as they could've been.
"When you get to the semi-finals of a World Cup you have to play well as a team, but Belgium did not look like scoring."
Former England striker Alan Shearer added: "Whatever happens, the England boys are coming home as heroes. They have an unbelievable chance to come home as legends."

'Couldn't ask for more'

"It was a close game and it was very tight and it was going to be decided by that bit of luck in front of goal. The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore. We have to understand one team wins and the other loses, and we did what we could."
Asked about the French goal, Martinez added: "That is the type of detail that counts in the semi-final of the World Cup. We have one game left and I want to ensure we finish the tournament on a high because these players don't deserve to leave here with a bad taste."
France boss Didier Deschamps: "The most important match is on Sunday, we have given ourselves a huge privilege to reach the final of the World Cup. I was there two years ago [Euro 2016 final] and it was so painful that we want to taste the victory now.
"It is nothing to win the semi-final after losing in the final two years ago, we have this privilege to give happiness to these people, but we will try to give even more happiness on Sunday."

Man of the match - Raphael Varane (France)

A dominant showing by the Real Madrid defender and he did not give Lukaku a sniff
World Cup of set-pieces - the stats
  • France have reached their third World Cup final, also doing so in 1998 and 2006. Only Germany (8) and Italy (6) have reached more among European nations.
  • Since reaching their first in 1998, France have now reached more World Cup finals than any other nation (3).
  • This was Belgium's first defeat of any kind since a friendly loss against Spain in September 2016.
  • France have beaten Belgium three times in World Cup matches, more than they've beaten any other side in the competition.
  • 44% of the goals at the 2018 World Cup have come from set piece situations (69/158, including penalties).
  • Despite having almost two-thirds of the possession in this match (64%), Belgium attempted just nine shots - 10 fewer than France managed (19).
  • Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 20 competitive games for France (12 goals, 8 assists).
  • Griezmann has been directly involved in 13 of France's last 20 goals scored in major tournaments (World Cup and Euros), with nine goals and four assists.
  • Only England's Harry Kane (6 goals) has been involved in more goals at the 2018 World Cup than France's Griezmann (5: 3 goals, 2 assists).

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