A second man is being sought in connection with the kidnap, torture and rape of a 5-year-old girl, nicknamed “Gubiya,” in New Delhi, India, Reuters reported Monday.
The young girl’s plight has refocused the world’s attention on India and their gender issues following the brutal rape, disembowelment and death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi late last year. In this new case, the attacker was the girl’s neighbor, a man in his early 20s who lived in the same building.
Gubiya, whose real name has not been released in accordance with Indian law, is in the hospital and reportedly in stable condition, following her 40-hour disappearance earlier this month. Her parents allege that the police refused to take action when they reported her missing. One officer was suspended after he slapped a friend of Gubiya’s family who protested the police’s failure to investigate her disappearance, the Telegraph reported. Other reports, including those published in the Telegraph and the AP, alleged that the police offered the family 2,000 Indian rupees (about $37) to keep quiet about the rape.
The young girl’s rape has sparked both new protests over India’s rape culture, while India media began reporting on other children who had experienced similar fates, including another 5-year-old girl at the same hospital as Gubiya. Of particular concern to the new anti-rape movement is police’s ambivalence toward both the victims and the perpetrators.
In a report on Monday, the AP said more than 90,000 children in India go missing every year, and more than 34,000 are never found. This, compounded with New Delhi having the highest rate of sex crimes in India (18 reported every hour, the police say), and human rights advocates reporting that accounts of child rape in India have increased at 336 percent since 2001, paint a picture of India where being a child, female or both is a dangerous prospect.
Police are often slow to file reports, or don’t file them at all, telling the family the child probably merely ran away, is lost or is off with friends. Activists told the AP that these children often end up being trafficked as forced laborers or sex slaves or are sold into marriage.
"The government is just not ready to confront the issue of trafficking or missing children. And this gets reflected in the apathy of the police in dealing with cases of missing children," a lawyer told the AP.
"Though parliament has recently passed tougher legislation to prevent rapes, the evil has not abated and such incidents are still on the rise throughout the country," said Meira Kumar, the first female speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Reuters reported.