A five-year-old girl who was molested and brutalised by a neighbour in an East Delhi locality is fighting for her life at a city hospital.
The country was shocked to hear the news as police registered a case of kidnapping, rape and unnatural s*x and launched a manhunt for the accused who is absconding.
The toddler who went missing on Monday evening was found by neighbours from the ground floor room of the same building where she lived on Wednesday. She was moved to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) yesterday evening in a critical condition.
The girl was attacked inside a locked room over a 48-hour period, police said, after being abducted as she played outside on Monday.
Doctors who attended to her at the Swami Dayanand Hospital where she was first being treated said she was violated with pieces of a candle and a bottle.
“The child’s condition is very critical. There were foreign objects found inside her and this has resulted in infection,” Dr. R.K. Bansal who treated her at the Swami Dayanand Hospital, before being moved to AIIMS, said.
“The girl was traumatised when she was brought to us. There were injuries to her lips, cheeks and chest wall. There were bruises on her neck,” R.N. Bansal, medical superintendent of a local government hospital, said.
The injuries to her neck suggested that the attacker may have tried to strangle her and left her to die in the room, he said.
According to the victim’s family, the police was extremely unhelpful in registering the FIR and locating the missing girl, and even offered Rs2,000 (about N5900) to the family to keep quiet.
The parents had decided to approach the police after their daughter had been recovered by neighbours who heard her cries from the locked ground floor room. The police further shamed themselves by telling the family that they should be thankful that she was found alive. This sparked protests as protesters swarmed round the hospital
An assistant commissioner of police identified as B.S. Ahlawat has been suspended after he was caught on camera slapping a female protester outside the hospital.
“I see an ACP slapping a young girl protesting against this. These policemen are incapable of protecting women. Instead they beat them up. This ACP should be ashamed of his uniform,” Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, said.
The Delhi Police, however, has denied being lax and late in taking action. According to East Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police Prabhakar, the police registered a case of kidnapping immediately when the mother of the victim and a relative visited the police station.
“When the child was found on the ground floor, we immediately took the child to the hospital. The police is camping at the known hideouts of the accused to arrest him,” DCP Prabhakar said.
The incident comes just months after India was shaken by the horrific gang molestation of a student in Delhi on a bus last year that triggered countrywide demonstrations and debate over the status of women and girls and their safety.