More than two weeks after a newborn girl was found dumped in a garbage bin at Kurla, local women managed to trace the 17-year old mother, who alleged that she had become pregnant after being raped by her 47-year-old neighbour.
On October 12, sweepers collecting garbage from a bin in Kurla found a baby girl wrapped in a cloth and covered in blood. The discovery had led to outrage in the area and the initiative to rush the infant to hospital had been taken by Noorjehan Siddiqui, a member of the Mahila Dakshata committee in VB Nagar police station.
Even as the police began a search for the person who abandoned the baby, Siddiqui and a few women residents began their own investigation. “We felt we should find out who had abandoned the baby. Some of us asked around the area to track down women who were pregnant at the time of the incident,” Siddiqui said.
One of the names that came up was that of a 17-year old girl, who had suddenly lost weight in mere weeks, according to some neighbours. “Since the girl is a minor, I spoke to her mother. She denied that her daughter was pregnant. Apprehensive that it could be a case of sexual assault, we informed the police on Monday,” she said.
After some questioning, the girl told a female police officer that she had been raped by her neighbour, and that she had hidden the fact from her parents. She said she had delivered the baby by herself in the bathroom at home, and then abandoned the infant in the garbage bin.
Police inspector Deepak Pagare from VB Nagar said the neighbour has been arrested on the basis of the complaint, and a case of rape under IPC and relevant sections of POCSO have been registered.
“The girl told us that the accused had threatened her with dire consequences if she revealed anything to her family,” an officer added.
The police, who are investigating if any of the girl’s family members knew about her pregnancy, were also told that the accused is HIV-positive and will be conducting tests to determine whether the minor and the newborn are affected as well. The child is currently in an orphanage.