7-year-old Thodupuzha boy loses 9-day battle for life, dies at hospital

7-year-old Thodupuzha boy loses 9-day battle for life, dies at hospital
Arun Anand, the man charged with the torture and abuse of the two siblings, is currently on remand in the district jail at Muttom, near Thodupuzha.
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Thodupuzha: The seven-year-old boy from Thodupuzha, who was battling for life on a ventilator in the ICU of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Medical College Hospital at Kolenchery in Kerala's Ernakulam district for the past nine days after a brutal attack by his 'uncle-turned-step-father', died at 11:35am on Saturday.

The boy landed in the hospital after his mother's live-in partner brutally assaulted him on March 28 early morning leaving him in coma.

According to doctors in the hospital, condition of the boy was very critical right from the moment he was admitted in the ICU. Chances of reviving his brain’s function were very less. He was on artificial respiration.

According to Dr G Sreekumar, neurosurgeon at the medical college, a surgery was performed to stop internal bleeding in the brain. He was being fed through a tube. About 50ml of liquid food was being given to him every hour but nothing could save him. 

The autopsy will be conducted at the Medical College Hospital in Kottayam.

The boy, a class 2 student at a school at Kumaramangalam near Thodupuzha in Idukki district, had a 2-inch crack on his skull and over 20 injury marks on his body when he arrived in the hospital.

7-year-old Thodupuzha boy loses 9-day battle for life, dies at hospital
According to vernacular newspaper reports, Arun is known as 'Cobra' among the underworld gangs of Thiruvananthapuram.

The child's harrowing tale began at 1.30 am on March 28, 2019 (Thursday). The mother and her live-in partner Arun Anand, who is also her late husband Biju's first cousin (Father's sister's son), locked their two sons, one seven years old and the other four years, from outside the bedroom and left for a late night dinner. According to the mother, who talked to a few vernacular dailies after the incident, Arun used to tell her that they should leave the boys alone at home so that they could grow up as brave boys.

She trusted him and left for dinner and returned around 3am. They found the kids sleeping and the couple also got into the bed. Arun realised that the four-year-old kid had wetted the bed. This infuriated him and he thrashed the elder boy for not taking the younger one to wash room before they went to bed.

Six-foot tall Arun kicked the kid in the stomach. The kid was thrown up in the air and banged his head against the wall. He was picked up and thrown again. This time the child's head hit the edge of a steel almirah. Arun then grabbed the kid's head and banged it against the cot.

The kid fell on the ground. Arun kicked several times and dragged him through other rooms also. This left blood stains everywhere.

Arun also beat the mother who tried to intervene. The 4-year-old was also beaten. The room was cleaned and the younger one was locked up again before taking the elder child to hospital. Around 3.50am, the mother and Arun took the kid to a hospital in Thodupuzha where the mother stated that the kid had fallen from the bed but the doctors referred him to the medical college at Kolenchery as he was in a critical condition.

The cops soon arrested Arun and he was also slapped with charges under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for sexually abusing the younger kid apart from attempt to murder. With the death of the boy, the cops will now charge him with murder also.

The cops also talked to the younger child and he narrated the whole incident to police.

Arun and the mother of the boy were staying at the rented house at Kumaramangalam on the pretext of being a married couple. The family remained rather isolated as they did not maintain any close connections with their neighbours.

The boy's mother is a BTech graduate from Udumbannoor village in Idukki district and Arun is also a civil engineering degree holder from Nandankode in Thiruvananthapuram district. She is from a well-to-do family and her mother is a retired teacher. She is the only daughter.

According to relatives, she trusted every word of Arun because apparently he was the only person who supported her to recover the shock of her husband's death last year. She was married to Biju from Thiruvananthapuram. Biju had set up a workshop at Vengalloor near Thodupuzha after the marriage. They were blessed with two sons and Biju died following a heart attack in May, 2018. Biju's body was cremated at his native place in Thiruvananthapuram. The wife also went to Thiruvananthapuram for the funeral where she stayed for a few days with her in-laws. She met Arun, who is Biju's first cousin, there.

7-year-old Thodupuzha boy loses 9-day battle for life, dies at hospital
Arun and the mother of the boy were staying at the rented house at Kumaramangalam on the pretext of being a married couple.

After Biju's death, Arun, who is a divorcee, became close to the woman. She finally decided to live with Arun, taking her kids along. Her mother was against this but she was adamant. The mother also approached the police but the woman told a court that she wanted to go with Arun. But they never married officially. The woman's mother did not allow Arun to stay in her house. So, the couple lived in Thiruvananthapuram for a while before moving to Kumaramangalam near Thodupuzha.

Arun was also first married to a model and he has a 10-year-old daughter from that marriage. They were divorced later. The daughter now lives with her mother.

Arun reopened the workshop owned by Biju and started managing things there. But the woman or Arun never visited her mother at Udumbannoor.

According to vernacular newspaper reports, Arun is known as 'Cobra' among the underworld gangs of Thiruvananthapuram. His parents were bank employees. A report said his father died while he was in service and Arun was offered a job in the 'dying in harness' quota. But he refused the offer and started developing contacts with the criminal gangs in Thiruvananthapuram. Soon, he was involved in drugs trade also. His elder brother is a defence personnel.

Arun is also a murder case accused. He has seven cases against him registered at four police stations in Kerala.

Mother-in-law of the woman, however, had come out in support of her daughter-in-law.

She told Manorama, “I will not find fault with her even if the whole world blames her. She is not a heartless mother.”

Three days after her husband Biju's death in May 2018, the woman had told her in-laws that she wanted to marry Arun Anand.

However, the woman's mother-in-law justified that also. “It is true that she went with Arun soon after my son's death. All relatives, including me, warned her not to. It could be her fate. He (Arun) started abusing the kids and her right from beginning. Arun used to force her and kids starve. He abused them physically.

But we didn’t know anything about all these. She didn’t tell anyone. Had she revealed something, this would not have happened. My husband is a retired postmaster and I am a retired teacher. We can take care of them,” she told mediapersons earlier.

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