Ochira: A 42-year-old man was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing his stepdaughter in Ochira, Kollam. The accused has been identified as Shaji, who already has two children and is married to another woman.

Shaji had been staying with the victim’s mother who is reportedly a divorcee. The nine-year-old reported the alleged ongoing to her mother when the physical torture grew unbearable. Her mother then had her shifted to an orphanage.

However, Shaji would visit the child in the orphanage and take her out on certain days. The minor who had two days leave every week was too scared to refuse him.

However, on one occasion, she refused to go home with him. An authority at the orphanage then asked the child for the reason behind her refusal. The child said that she was raped by Saji. The college authority later informed Childline foundation.

When a policewoman came to take the statement of the victim, the child revealed that she was raped at the age of nine. She added that she became pregnant once and was given certain medicines for abortion. Upon hearing this, the policewoman reportedly fell unconscious.

Meanwhile, in a bid to combat the rising offenses on children, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by including the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, besides providing stringent punishment for other crimes against minors, officials said.

The proposed changes in the POCSO Act also provide for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.