A 60-year-old temple priest was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl in Devanahalli, located in the northeast Bengaluru. The accused, Venkataramanappa, a resident of Chickballapur, was visiting his daughter who lives with her husband, also a priest in a house located within the premises of Chowdeshwari temple.
“The son-in-law asked the accused to perform the daily rituals at the temple until he returned,” said the police. On Tuesday evening, after he moved into their house, which is adjacent to the temple, Venkataramanappa saw the girl playing outside. “Both, CCTV camera footage and eyewitness accounts reveal that he lured her into the house promising her snacks,” The Hindu quoted a senior police officer as saying.
When the girl did not return home after a long time, her parents began looking for her. A flower vendor reportedly informed the girl’s father that she had gone into the accused’s daughter’s house, near the temple.
When her parents walked up to the house, they saw their daughter running out and crying loudly. The girl told her parents what transpired and soon a crowd had gathered outside the accused’s house.
As the situation started to get tense, the police arrived at the scene and detained the accused. “The girl was taken to a hospital for a medical examination where doctors confirmed that she was raped. Based on the medical report, eyewitness accounts, and CCTV camera footage, Venkataramanappa was arrested under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and also under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.”
The incident reminds of the gruesome 2018 Kathua abduction, gang rape and murder case of 8-year-old Asifa Bano, in which three main accused — Sanji Ram, a temple priest, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar — were awarded life imprisonment.