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Aizawl: In a controversial case unfolding in the northeastern state of Mizoram, a couple has been arrested over the death of their 2-year-old daughter, who was suspected to be sexually assaulted before her demise in a private hospital in Aizawl.

The girl, who hailed from a locality in the western part of the state capital, died at Ebenezer Medical Centre, a reputed private hospital in Aizawl, on September 16. 

The father of the child was arrested on October 1 and her mother was caught two days later (October 3) as they appeared to be the prime suspects in the case, a police statement said.

The police had registered a suo-moto case under relevant sections of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on September 20 following information received from a medical officer of the private hospital and the subsequent examination of the minor’s body indicated sexual abuse, the statement said.

According to information from the private hospital, even though the child was diagnosed to have died of acute Loryngotracheobrontis (ALTB) with severe respiratory distress when her body was being prepared to be handed over to her family some unnatural signs were spotted in her private parts, which could indicate sexual assault, police statement said. 

Subsequently, the child’s corpse was examined by specialised doctors in the government-run Aizawl Civil hospital during which, old healed wounds were found on her private parts, it said.

However, the statement said that the examination of the child’s samples at a forensic science laboratory revealed that ‘semen was not detected from the exhibits’.

Suspecting sexual abuse, the police registered a case and launched an investigation on October 20 during which many people, including the child’s parents, grandparents, other relatives and local leaders of the girl’s locality were questioned. 

“The parents of the child were the prime suspects, as they had always maintained during the examination, that the custody of the child always remains with them only. Hence, on the basis of the circumstantial evidence, the father of the child was arrested on October 1 and subsequently the mother was also arrested on October 3 for sustained and thorough custodial interrogation,” the police statement said.

Earlier on September 29, well-known social activist Vanramchhuangi had filed an FIR accusing the child’s parents of being prime suspects and demanding their immediate arrest.

A few days later the girl’s family also filed an FIR denying the allegations.

Aizawl Superintendent of Police (SP) C Lalruaia said that the two fresh FIRs were not registered as the suo-moto case was already registered for the same incident and the case is under investigation. 

Last week, residents of the girl’s locality staged a protest rally demanding justice for the deceased minor.

Lalruaia said that the couple is currently in police custody for questioning.

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