A man accused of sexually abusing his eight-year-old niece two years ago, was on Tuesday convicted by a Delhi trial court on the basis of crayon drawings made by the girl.
According to a report in The Times of India, the Kolkata girl was abandoned by her alcoholic father after her mother's death and was sent to live with her uncle and aunt in Delhi. But she ran away from the house after her uncle Akhter Ahmed allegedly sexually assaulted her several times. She was found later in a bus.
Ahmed was arrested in June 2016, but his lawyers had denied all charges levelled at him. Even though the girl's medical examination indicated signs of sexual trauma, she could not be regarded as a "competent witness".
Things took an turn for the unexpected, when the cops, who had given her a some blank sheets and crayons to keep her busy while they were questioning Ahmed, saw what she had drawn.
In "gloomy" colours, she had drawn an abandoned house, a girl holding some balloons, and a dress lying on the floor.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav regarded the sketches as the child's impression of her ordeal and said:
"If the elements of this drawing are considered in the background of facts and circumstances of this case, then commission of sexual assault upon her by somebody in her house after undressing her, and it leaving an impression upon her mind, becomes evident... Therefore, I find the child victim to be a competent witness."
Now, the court has said that since the sexual assault was not of a penetrative nature, Ahmed is to be sent to jail for five years and would have to pay a fine of ₹10,000.
The court also ordered a compensation of ₹3 lakh in fixed deposits for the welfare of the child.
The girl, who is now 10 years old, is living in a children's home and is attending regular school.
"The legal battle is over. She is doing very well in her studies, and hopefully the compensation will help build a bright future for her," lawyer and child rights activist Chandra Suman Kumar told TOI.
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