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Alleged child abuse case in Bumthang still under investigation

Almost two months after an alleged child abuse case surfaced in Bumthang, the case is still under investigation.

The eight-year-old child has been rescued from Bumthang since June 22 and kept in a place of safety.

Officials from the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) say they are working with police in investigating the case.

NCWC director, Kunzang Lhamu, said all the necessary tests have been conducted and they are waiting for the results.

The superintendent of police in Bumthang, Lt. Colonel Wangdi Tshering, said they are waiting for the forensic report, as their vehicle is still in Thimphu.

He said they have to depend on many reports, including the medical, psychiatric and paediatrician report.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the case first surfaced in April, when the girl was brought to Wangduecholing hospital for medical treatment, as she was suffering from grave infections and wound.

While police and NCWC did not divulge any information, it was learnt that the child’s guardian took the child away from the hospital when health officials then said the matter should be reported to police because of the grave injuries the child suffered.

“I heard that health officials asked the police to trace the woman and the child and that is why the child was brought again to the hospital in June,” a source from Bumthang said. “I saw the child being brought to the hospital and she was limping.”

Another source said the child was then kept under the custody of RENEW and NCWC focal person in Bumthang before being rescued to Thimphu. “I heard there are elements of child trafficking, as the child is a non-Bhutanese.”

It was learnt that the child gave a statement to police about her mother’s whereabouts.

It was also learnt that the child’s mother came with Bumthang’s officer-in-command to the place of safety although there was an order  in place that the child, who is healing from the wounds, cannot meet anyone.

“The alleged perpetrators wanted the mother to take the child away but we cannot allow it, as the case is still under investigation and the child is in grave danger,” an official said. “We have to prioritise the safety and well-being of the child.”

Staff reporter

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