People participate in a rally to raise awareness of child abuse and crimes against women in Bangalore, India, on July 30, 2014. (Photo: UCA News/IANS)
Police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have arrested a government servant for sexually abusing more than 50 children over a span of 10 years.
Ram Bhawan, who was arrested on Nov. 17, is a junior engineer in the Irrigation Department. Police say he filmed acts of abuse and sold them to pedophiles in other countries.
“It is indeed very sad that people and the government don’t take this issue very seriously and there is no proper mechanism to combat this heinous crime,” Sister Lucy Kurien, who works with the victims of child abuse through her organization Maher, told UCA News.
“There are several reasons why it is happening in our society and one of the biggest reasons is our judiciary system has several loopholes which the accused exploit."
Sister Kurien, who belongs to the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, said the accused use "money and muscle power" to influence cases and there is no regret among them for the crimes they have committed.
“The alleged culprit is so confident that he is very sure to get away with minimum or no punishment at all. In many cases we have witnessed the culprit get away scot-free,” she said.
Bhawan, a resident of Chitrakoot, was allegedly involved in sexual abuse in the districts of Banda, Chitrakoot and surrounding areas in the state.
He not only physically abused the children but recorded the acts on his mobile phone, laptop and other electronic devices, the investigating team alleged.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the case, said the accused posted photographs and video clips of child abuse on the internet, adding that he used the dark web to share and sell the images with other individuals in the state.
The CBI searched his residence and recovered 800,000 rupees (US$10,800) in cash, mobile phones, laptops, webcams and other electronic gadgets as well as sex toys.
He used these items to lure children aged 5-16. A search of his email revealed that he was in regular contact with several individuals in India and abroad for the purpose of sharing child sex abuse material.
The investigation revealed that the accused created and shared a huge quantity of child sexual abuse material over the years, using various social media platforms and websites.
According to a National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report released in January, as many as 109 children were sexually abused in India every day in 2018. That year also saw an increase in the number of cases registered under the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act.
The report showed that crimes against children had risen steeply between 2008 and 2018. According to NCRB data, 39,827 cases were reported in 2018, among which were 21,605 child rapes.
Maharashtra recorded the highest number of child rape cases in 2018 at 2,832, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 2,023. Tamil Nadu recorded 1,457 cases.
“We have to teach our parents that they should take some time from their busy schedules and talk to their children. The most important thing is to believe in their children,” said Tej Kumar Thapa, child project manager of Anugyalaya Darjeeling Diocese Social Service Society.
“We have to educate the parents and guardians that early motherhood has a negative impact on the mental, emotional and physical development of children.”