The gruesome rape of a five-year-old girl in the Indian capital, allegedly by her neighbor, who held her captive for two days, sparked protests on Friday, even as a police search for the perpetrator is ongoing.
The child is being treated in an intensive care unit at an East Delhi hospital, where she was admitted on Wednesday, after she was found battered and bleeding in one of the flats in her building, NDTV news channel reported.
The girl, residing in East Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar, was reported missing on Monday. The accused is said to be in his 30s and lived on the ground floor of the building in which the victim also stayed. He allegedly kidnapped the girl when she was playing outside and sexually assaulted her in his flat in captivity.
The girl was rescued when members of her family heard her screams on Wednesday evening, police said.
Doctors at Swami Dayanand Hospital treating the girl said she suffered grave injuries to her private parts resulting in serious infection, the Press Trust of India reported.
They said the child’s condition is very critical and some foreign objects were found inside her body.
A senior police official said the girl was in a serious condition when she was rescued from the flat.
The girl’s father said the police initially offered him Rs. 2000 “to keep quiet,” and advised him to be thankful that the girl was “found alive.”
The allegation that police paid the girl’s father bribe to cover up the incident was condemned by the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, who wrote a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, claiming that the incident showed the administration’s “inhuman” attitude towards the common man.
“The victim has been admitted by your administration and police to a small hospital where only minimal facilities are available,” they said alleging that police tried to win over the parents by offering them money to hush up the case.
“We appeal to you to shift the girl to AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) so that her life is saved,” they stated.
Women rights activists strongly condemned the incident saying that with this crime, brutality had crossed all limits.
“There is a certain brigandage in the capital which has gone beyond alarming. Anyone can be picked up, irrespective of what time of the day it is. It is horrific, this incident," Akhila Sivadas of the Centre for Advocacy and Research told the Indo Asian News Service (IANS).
The incident coincided with an alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old woman on Wednesday night in Delhi by a group of men who offered her a lift, before allegedly sedating and raping her.
The victim, who is a domestic helper, is admitted at the city's Safdarjung Hospital. However, the doctors who treated her said they could not confirm the rape.
"We did not find anything visible, external injuries, and we have stated that in our report. It is now for the police to investigate and establish the case," hospital chief BD Athani told The Indian Express newspaper.
The incidents come four months after the brutal gang-rape of a woman on board a bus in Delhi, which sparked massive protests across India. The victim died during treatment, while six suspects were charged over the case.
One of the suspects was found dead in prison as the trial was ongoing at a fast-track court. A minor suspect is being tried in a juvenile court. He could be sentenced to three years in a reform facility.
In March, India passed a new bill with harsher punishments, including death penalty for rapists.