World | India

Kerala boy torture: stepmother’s mother knew of attacks

Five-year-old is on life support at a private hospital

  • By Akhel Mathew, Correspondent
  • Published: 14:30 July 18, 2013
  • Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: A new twist has been given to the ghastly tale of a five-year-old boy in Kerala’s Idukki district being tortured for an extended period by his father and stepmother, with neighbours alleging that the stepmother’s mother was also privy to the torture.

Local media has reported that neighbours have informed authorities that the boy had to undergo extreme torture while his stepmother Aleesha’s mother, Subaida was present at home. Aleesha and her husband Sherif are presently in custody, and charged with attempt to murder. The battered child’s older brother, who is in an orphanage, has also reportedly told authorities of the abuse at home.

The tortured boy is on life support at a private hospital in Kumily in Idukki district. A medical bulletin issued Thursday said there was “marginal improvement” in the boy’s condition and that he was still in critical condition. The child moved his limbs and eyes and doctors are hopeful of giving him liquid food soon.

The boy’s mother, Ramya, visited the boy Thursday at the hospital. She said she had not abandoned the child, and that she was scared of threats from her husband and his new in-laws. Ramya said the guilty should be suitably punished.

The tortured boy’s tale has stunned the state, and chief minister Oommen Chandy termed the incident “a disgrace to the whole state”. Minister M.K. Muneer visited the boy in hospital at the chief minister’s direction.

A team from the Kottayam Medical College has also examined the boy, and reports indicate that it is too early to be able to move the boy to another hospital with better facilities, from the hospital in Kumily where he is on ventilator support.

In another case of two children being sold by their parents in Kasaragod district, police were able to trace the second child, too, from Karnataka state. It was earlier reported that the father Ratheesh had sold the children without his wife Prema’s consent. Police now suspect that the couple had sold the children with each other’s consent. The younger child, who is six months old, had been traced after Prema complained to the police that her husband had sold the child.

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