Police in have reopened the criminal investigation of the of a 10-year-old girl after testing revealed the uncle charged with abusing her is not the father of her baby.
The unnamed girl was forced to give birth after the Indian Supreme Court denied her parent’s petition for an abortion foetus as they ruled it would be more dangerous to the girl’s health at the late stage of the pregnancy than to carry the baby to term.
In India, after 20 weeks is illegal unless a doctor can certify the mother’s life is in danger.
The girl was not aware she was pregnant –
She allegedly said she had been raped by her uncle several times in the previous seven months.
The accused, who is in his 40s, was charged and is due to be tried in a special court.
He is currently being held in prison and has made no public comment but the girl’s father he had not denied the charges against him.
Police in the northern state of Punjab said the uncle had admitted to the allegations.
An official connected with the case said they are now investigating whether another man had been abusing her and counsellors have visited the family again to speak to the 10-year-old.
He told the BBC: “So far no-one had thought of any other possibility. The girl had testified to the court on video conferencing and in her statement, she had very clearly named the uncle and revealed facts about her abuse.”
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The mother had reportedly previously said the family did not suspect anyone else had harmed their daughter.
The girl’s pregnancy was discovered in mid-July when she complained of stomach pain and her parents took her to hospital.
When her condition came to light her parents petitioned a local court in Chandigarh but were turned down on the grounds that at 30 weeks her pregnancy had advanced to the stage that an abortion would be “too risky” to her health.
Late the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court.
Her child has been taken into care after the family
Her case was soon followed by the news of a similar court case launched by the parents of a 13-year-old rape victim who gave birth to a baby last week at 32 weeks after a court in Mumbai granted her permission to abort.
The baby subsequently died two days later though its cause of death is currently unclear.
In May, a 10-year-old girl was allowed to abort at around 20 weeks’ gestation after being allegedly raped by her stepfather in the northern state of Haryana.
The cases have reignited the debate about the abuse of women and girls in the country.
According to Unicef, a child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes in India – for children under 10 it is every 13 hours.