New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Four months after the Dec 16 gang-rape, Delhi was rocked by angry street protests again Saturday against the barbaric rape of a five-year-old girl who doctors said has suffered serious injuries to her private parts while the accused was nabbed from Bihar and brought back here.
Doctors said the girl’s condition was stable but she would need major reconstructive surgery to her private parts due to the brutal sexual assault.
While the capital was seething in anger over the rape, news came in the evening of a gang-rape of a 13-year-old girl by eight men.
Condemnation of the five-year-old’s rape came from President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari, while Congress president Sonia Gandhi paid a quiet visit to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where the girl is being treated and met her and her parents.
Gandhi’s visit came even as a candle light vigil was held outside AIIMS by protesters.
A joint team of Delhi and Bihar Police succeeded in nabbing the rape accused, Manoj Kumar, 22, from his in-laws house in Chitkouna village in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district early Saturday. He was flown to Delhi in a chartered plane and is being interrogated by police.
The girl, a resident of east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar, was abducted by Manoj, a labourer, who lived on the ground floor of the same house in the working class neighbourhood. He kept her hostage for two days without food and water and subjected her to brutal repeated rape.
She was rescued when her family members heard her screams Wednesday, police said. The accused had locked the door from outside and fled, thinking that she had died.
“She was locked in the room for over 40 hours,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Prabhakar.
Doctors at AIIMS in an evening bulletin said the girl’s condition was stable and she was recovering.
Medical Superintendent D.K. Sharma said they had carried out a procedure to divert her stools as her private parts had suffered grievous injuries and were badly damaged.
Protesters gave vent to their anger at the rising rapes. Delhi, which has earned the unflattering sobriquet of rape capital, has seen 393 rapes in the first three months of the year compared to 152 in the same period last year.
Students, women activists and members of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student’s wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, laid siege outside the Police headquarters in the heart of the capital from early morning, shouting slogans and waving banners.
Their numbers swelled by afternoon. The crowd demanded the resignation of Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar. Many protesters tried to break the barricades and enter the Police Headquarters.
They were gently, but firmly pushed back by police, maybe taking a lesson from Friday’s incident when a senior police officer was suspended for slapping a protesting schoolgirl – an incident that attracted wide condemnation.
The restive crowd soon moved to AIIMS, while another batch of protesters moved to union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s house in Krishna Menon Marg in central Delhi and raised slogans against the deteriorating law and order situation.
Dozens also protested outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence.
Police imposed prohibitory orders around India Gate, to prevent a repeat of the earlier incidents in the aftermath of the Dec 16 gang-rape when protesters had overrun the area.
Gandhi Saturday condemned the rape, saying “action and not words are required to check incidents like this heinous rape.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj went a step further – demanding death penalty.
“They reflect a mental sickness which has crept in society…a strong law is not sufficient, they need a shock treatment… They should be hanged to send a strong message to other people,” she told reporters.
The girl was shifted to AIIMS Friday from an east Delhi hospital where doctors had said they had never seen such a brutal attack after they removed a bottle and pieces of candle from her private parts.
Much of the anger of the protesters is also directed against police for having failed to act promptly after her father filed a missing complaint. After the rape was discovered last Wednesday the local police allegedly tried to bribe the poor parents with Rs.2,000 asking them to hush the incident.
In the second case reported from east Delhi’s Farsh Bazaar, police registered an abduction report but failed to register a rape report. The parents April 9 went to court, which ordered police to act. Three of the eight men have been arrested.