Kerala: 7-year-old boy, brutally attacked by stepfather, dies

The boy was battling for his life for the past nine days

arun-anand-arrest Arun Anand, man charged with torture and abuse of the two siblings

The seven-year-old boy from Thodupuzha, who was battling for his life at a hospital in Kerala's Ernakulam district for the past nine days after a brutal attack by his 'uncle-turned-stepfather', died at 11. 35am on Saturday.

The boy was admitted to the ICU of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Medical College Hospital at Kolenchery in Ernakulam and was on ventilator support after his mother's live-in partner brutally assaulted him on March 28, leaving him in coma. According to doctors in the hospital, the 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 put on artificial respiration.

Dr G. Sreekumar, neurosurgeon at the medical college, said a surgery was performed to stop internal bleeding in the brain. The boy 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 two-inch crack on his skull and over 20 injury marks on his body when he arrived at the hospital.

How the events unveiled

The child's harrowing tale began at 1.30am on March 28. His mother and her live-in partner Arun Anand, who is also her late husband Biju's cousin, locked her two sons—the seven-year old and his four-year-old younger brother—in the bedroom and left for a late night dinner. According to the mother, Arun used to say that they should leave the boys alone at the home so that they could grow up "brave".

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

Arun kicked the kid in the stomach. The kid was thrown up in the air, banged his head against the wall. Arun picked him up to thrown him 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 him several times and dragged him through other rooms also, leaving blood stains everywhere.

Arun also hit the mother who tried to intervene. The four-year-old was also beaten. The room was cleaned and the younger one was locked up again before Arun and the mother took the elder child to a hospital in Thodupuzha around 3.50am. The mother stated to the hospital authorities 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 the 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, too.

The police also talked to the younger child who narrated the whole incident to them. Arun and the boys' mother were staying at a rented house in 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.

According to her relatives, she trusted Arun because apparently he was the only person who supported her to recover from the shock of her husband's death last year. 

This story was first published in Onmanorama.