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Apr 21, 2013 at 09:09am IST

Delhi: Minor rape survivor in hospital, more protests expected today

New Delhi: The five-year-old Delhi rape survivor is still in hospital but stable and alert as the capital took to the streets once again to protest against rising rape cases with a wave of revulsion anger across the nation as well. Manoj Kumar, 22, who is accused of brutalising the minor was arrested from Muzzaffarpur in Bihar and brought to Delhi on Saturday. He is likely to be produced in Karkardooma court later in the day.

The survivor was held in captivity and savagely assaulted for two days while the police wasted precious time in filing an FIR and launching a search. And on Saturday, anger erupted in Delhi against the police. Protests took place outside Delhi Police headquarters, outside Gandhi Nagar police station, at AIIMS and outside the Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's residence.

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Huge crowds turned up in solidarity for the child and the anger of the protesters was more evident. Manoj Kumar, a casual labourer, was arrested from Muzaffarpur in Bihar after he fled there. There were protests against him in Patna as well as he was transported back to Delhi. Several people came out on to the streets to protest, even gathering at the airport as the suspect who was arrested was being flown back to Delhi.

The police is also likely to interrogate Manoj to find out if there was anyone else involved in the brutal crime and also investigate the charges made against them by the victims family.

ALSO SEE Sonia Gandhi meets Delhi rape survivor at AIIMS

Fortunately, the girl is recovering well. Though highly traumatised, she should be discharged from the hospital in the next few days. Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said the girl was alert, stable and was interacting with her parents. They added that she is responding to the treatment well but was still under close observation. Her wounds would be re-dressed on Sunday and she will also need corrective surgery, doctors said. "Our team of counsellors and psychiatrists are attending to her. She will need corrective surgery in future," a doctor said.

Her case also attracted the attention of the Home Ministry and several political leaders, who expressed anguish and demanded stringent action against the accused. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office said in a statement that he was deeply disturbed by the latest incident. In December, his administration had faced criticism for failing to respond quickly to the horrific attack on the physiotherapy student.

ALSO SEE Delhi rape survivor is stable, alert: AIIMS doctor Delhi rape survivor is stable, alert: AIIMS doctor

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad visited AIIMS to meet the rape survivor even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran LK Advani expressed shock at the incident. Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj called for death penalty in child rape case and said "a sickness has seeped in the mentality". "Action and not words, required to check incidents like this heinous rape of a five-year-old," said Sonia Gandhi. President Pranab Mukherjee said he was "deeply anguished at the incident of the rape of a five-year-old child."

Vice President Hamid Ansari also expressed outrage at the brutal rape of the five-year old child. "We must ensure that the best possible medical treatment is provided to the little one. Apart from bringing the perpetrator of this heinous crime to justice expeditiously, it is critical for all of us to reflect on why these barbaric acts keep recurring in our midst. We need to collectively work towards urgently changing the regressive mindset vis-a-vis our womenfolk prevalent in our society. Else, our heads would continue to hang in shame and we will lose our right to be called a civilized, progressive society," he said.

However, most sex crimes in India go unreported, many offenders go unpunished, and the wheels of justice turn slowly, according to social activists who say successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women and children. Activists said the new laws are not enough to deter sex offenders in India's largely patriarchal societies. "You need community policing to stop these crimes," activist Kiran Bedi said.

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