A 10-year-old girl was sexually abused inside a cinema theatre in Malappuram district by 60-year-old Moideen Kutty, even as the girl's mother sat next to him with alleged full knowledge of the heinous crime being committed.
The incident was caught on CCTV camera. A day after the incident, on Sunday, 13 May, the girl's mother was arrested.
The arrest was made by a team of police headed by DySP Shaji. Confirming the arrest to TNM, DySP Shaji said that the girl's mother knew that her daughter was being sexually abused by Moideen.
The police have booked the girl's 35-year-old mother under section 364 (A) of IPC, along with relevant sections of POCSO and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.
She was taken into custody after CCTV visuals from the theatre showed that Moideen was engaged in a sexual act with the girl’s mother, while also sexually abusing the minor child.
They were seated on the front row seats and Moideen abused the child throughout the show.
According to the police, the man and the woman were in a relationship. She had taken the child to the theatre and let him sit in the middle.
The staff members, who saw Moideen abusing the mother and the 10-year-old child, informed the Childline officials in the district about the incident. Speaking to TNM, Sanup, the staffer at the theatre who first spotted the incident on the CCTV visuals, said that the incident happened on 18 April.
"This happened in Screen number 2, during the screening of the film Mohanlal. This was a 7pm show. Normally, we monitor the CCTV visuals all the time from our office. However, that day, there was a celebration by a group of fans for the success of another film. After that, I came to the Monitor Desk by 9 pm and saw what looked like a man abusing a child. I magnified the screen and to my horror, my suspicion turned out to be true. The film was in its last 10 minutes when I noticed it," Sanup says.
Taken aback, Sanup reported the incident to the theatre manager, who in turn informed the owner Satish.
When I heard this initially, I was in a dilemma, I didn’t know what to do. And the film was nearly ending. So, I told my staff to note down the man’s vehicle number. The next day, we informed Childline officials about it and handed over the footage. While we installed the cameras to spot drunk people who come to the theatre and to catch others who engage in anti-social activities, we did not anticipate that such a crime would happen.Satish, Theatre Owner
After getting the instruction from the owner, Sanup quickly stepped out, and spotted Moideen getting into his Benz car. "I noted down the car's number. The mother got into the back seat and the child got into the passenger seat and he drove away," Sanup said.
What further shocked Sanup was that the abuse had not just happened during the last 10 minutes of the film, but since the very beginning of the show.
“That day, because of the celebration, the CCTV monitor desk was unmanned for most part of the show. I could only get back to the desk during the last 10 minutes of the show. I got suspicious and rewound the footage, when I realised the man had been abusing the child throughout the show,” Sanup said.
The staff also dug out Moideen's name and identity by tracing his car number and tracked him on Facebook. "When I saw his photo on Facebook, I was sure it was him. We then handed over everything to the ChildLine," Sanup said.
We informed the police the very next day. We delayed it by a day to thoroughly check the visuals, considering the severity of the case. It’s a three-hour video, the theatre guys found it. We had checked the entire footage. He was abusing the mother and child at the same time, that too continuously from the beginning to the end. During the movie interval, he stops; he goes out and then comes back and resumes the sexual assault.Anwar, Child Helpline Member to TNM
“After informing the police, we approached them every day about the follow up. We waited till Saturday as we thought that the police should be given time to trace him. Still they didn’t act,” Anwar adds.
However, the police did not act on the information given by the Childline, until Mathrubhumi News, reported on the visuals on Saturday. Employees at the cinema hall also say that the police did not contact them until the TV channel ran the story.
(This article was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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