Kozhikode: A six-year-old boy was found dead at the Home for Mentally Deficient Children (HMDC) at Vellimadukunnu in Kerala's Kozhikode district.
The body was found in the bedroom of the government-run HMDC on Saturday morning. There were assault marks on the body. The police suspect that other senior children, staying along with him in the room, could have assaulted him.
Mentally challenged children, who do not have anyone to care for them at their homes, are provided accommodation at the HMDC, as per the recommendations of the Child Welfare Department. The HMDC is an institution under the Social Justice Department.
The victim came to the HMDC in last March and was the youngest among all the children. The HMDC has 38 children in the age group of 6 to 18.
It was said that other children, who stayed with him in the room, assaulted him in the night. But as all of them are mentally challenged, authorities are unable to collect more details.
The police submitted a report, seeking for a judicial probe as the death happened at a government centre. Then an evidence gathering was led by a magistrate.
Laxity from the part of authorities?
A preliminary report on the incident has pointed out serious lapses from the part of the institute's authorities.
The students have to be categorised into different groups as per their age and assigned rooms accordingly, as per the norms. Children in the same age group should be put up in one room.
However, the room in which the six-year-old was found had children as old as 18.
The Vellimadukunnu centre can accommodate up to 50 children. Currently, 38 students are put up in six dormitories. But there was only care taker in the night to look after these six rooms and 38 students. The child was found dead when the care taker opened the room at 6 in the morning.
District social justice officer Sheeba Mumtaz said that a department enquiry would be held into the incident.
The body is kept at the Medical College mortuary and would be handed over to the relatives after post-mortem on Sunday.