AP Chief Minister breaks law? Posts photo with 13-year-old alleged sexual abuse survivor

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For 13-year-old Asha*, the last 50 days has been one long nightmare. On April 21, the teenager was abducted by Nageshwar Rao (45), a former BSF jawan and taken to Kashmir. Rao claims he had married her and had forcibly kept her. Asha* was finally rescued by the Guntur Police after 45 days of operation.

After Asha was brought back to her native, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu and Nannapaneni Raja Kumari, AP Women’s Commission Chairperson met the survivor who was accompanied by her parents.

However, a picture of the Chief Minister posing with Asha, posted on the CM’s social media accounts has upset activists in the state. Since Asha is a minor and a victim of sexual abuse it is against the law to reveal her identity in public. The post on social media also identifies the girl by her name.  Naidu’s post states that the CM has extended financial support to the girl.

“This is mainly because the victim might get stigmatised in the future,” says Shantha Sinha, a renowned child rights activist and the first chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

The Battiprolu police have filed a case against Nageshwar Rao under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Section 376 (Rape), 376 (i), (m), sections under POCSO and Nirbhaya Act.

“The media can’t carry her photo and neither can any other public platform. The girl may not realise the consequences now and may have posed with the Chief Minister, but tomorrow she may not like the photo, and may change her mind,” Shantha adds.

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