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Video shows Kottiyam girl's plight

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 8. The Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, today produced the video recording of an interview with Shyni, the victim of the Kottiyam sex racket case who was killed by her brother, to show that the girl was sexually exploited under duress and that she had made several vain attempts to escape from the clutches of flesh traders.

The interview, done by a three-member team of women activists, shows the girl describing how she got caught in the sex racket and where she was taken by the sex ring. The girl also narrates how money changed hands even as she was moved from place to place beginning with the military camp at Pangode in the capital. Towards the end of the 30-minute-plus interview, the girl breaks down recalling how she was beaten up by her uncle and tied to a table and kept in confinement for days on end at her home.

The leader of the activists' team, Geetha, told reporters that they had done the interview as part of their project to bring out a publication and to prove that the girl was not of `loose morals' as was being made out by the police. That the girl was a 14-year-old showed how meaningless the police argument about consent was, they added.

Mr. Achuthanandan said he would raise the issue in the Assembly on Wednesday and ask the Government to go into the disclosures made by the girl in the interview. The interview, he said, proved that the girl was trapped by a woman in the neighbourhood and that she sincerely wished to escape from the sex racket. He said the girl had been physically persecuted whenever she tried to escape and was first sexually exploited at the Pangode military camp. The girl had approached the Chavara police at the first available opportunity.

The Opposition leader accused the police of having abetted the murder of the girl by not giving her adequate protection. The girl had informed the Circle Inspector, Chathannur, days before she was killed that there was a threat to her life. Her grandmother also had informed the police about it. But the police failed miserably in protecting the life of a 14-year-old girl, whose mother was mentally challenged and who lived in abject conditions, he added.

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