New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Shame and outrage returned to Delhi once again as gory details emerged of the rape of a five-year-old, who was kidnapped, starved and brutally tortured for two days. The victim was battling for life Friday even as police hunted for the 25-year-old accused.
As news of the beastly attack on the girl came out, a “deeply disturbed” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the “shameful incident” has “once again reiterated the need for society to look deep within and work to root out the evil of rape and other such crimes from our midst”.
The news once again bought angry protesters out of their homes. Many massed at the hospital where the girl was warded since Wednesday morning after her family rescued her from the house of her abductor in Gandhi Nagar in east Delhi.
When the traumatized girl was Friday evening shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for better medical attention, demonstrators gathered there too and shouted slogans against police and demanded death for the accused.
The alleged rapist, Manoj, a labourer, lived in the same building as the victim’s family. Police said the accused, who has been charged with kidnapping, rape, attempt to murder and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, had come to stay in the building 10 days ago and was on the run.
The rape – and the street protests – brought back horrific memories of the Dec 16, 2012 gangrape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, who later died in a Singapore hospital where she had been airlifted for specialised treatment.
Delhi, described as India’s “rape capital” has seen over 390 rapes cases in three months as compared to 152 cases in the corresponding period last year.
A doctor said he and his colleagues had never seen such a brutal rape. They said a bottle and pieces of candle were found thrust into the private parts of the girl.
“We found a 200 ml bottle and two or three pieces of candle inserted into her private parts. This is the first time I have seen such barbarism,” said R.K. Bansal, medical superintendent, Swami Dayanand Hospital.
“There were injuries on her lips, cheeks, arms and anus area, and bruise marks on her neck, suggesting that attempts were made to strangle her. The blood pressure was way below normal,” the doctor said.
The girl also had fever when she was admitted – and was in severe trauma. Doctors at AIIMS said the girl is “in a stable condition” and is being examined by a team of specialists.
Anger against Delhi Police mounted after the girl’s father, a mason, said they failed to even register his complaint when his daughter went missing.
“We went to police to register a FIR (First Information Report) but they refused. They never tried to find her, and instead drove us away,” said the distraught man.
He said when the family finally found the girl Wednesday morning after hearing her screams, a policeman offered the family Rs.2,000 to keep mum.
“Police told us not to highlight the issue in the media and gave us Rs.2,000 as ‘kharcha-pani’,” said the father, adding the police told them to “thank god that his daughter was alive”.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Prabhakar said in a hurriedly called press conference late at night that they are investigating the charges made by the father.
He also defended the force, saying they had quickly registered a kidnapping case against the accused.
But he also said they have suspended the station house officer (SHO) and the investigating officer for not behaving properly with the family.
Earlier Friday, angry protesters – including neighbours and activists of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – soon gathered near the east Delhi hospital, raising slogans against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Police.
Dikshit’s son and East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit, Delhi Health Minister A.K. Walia and Family Welfare and Education Minister Kiran Walia were heckled when they came to meet the victim’s family.
Some protesters entered the hospital premises and had a tiff with police officers.
An assistant commissioner of police was suspended for slapping a 17-year-old girl demonstrator at the hospital.
As television channels flashed the incident, Bani Singh Ahlawat, posted at Khajuri Khas in east Delhi, was suspended for slapping Beenu Rawat, a Class 12 student, a police officer told IANS.
Even the prime minister described it as “unacceptable treatment meted out by police officers to some women protesting against this incident”.
The rape victim was abducted Monday and kept hostage in a flat owned by Manoj, said to be in his 30s.
He lived on the ground floor of the building in Gandhi Nagar in which the victim’s family also stayed, police said.
Police teams have been sent to Bihar’s Muzaffarpur from where the accused hailed.
People also expressed outrage on social media.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “I am terribly shocked to know … I had thought that after (Delhi gang rape victim) Damini case thinking will change. Unfortunately, the situation has worsened.”