New Delhi: The national capital once again witnessed anguish, anger and helplessness on Friday as details of the rape of a 5-year-old girl emerged, shocking citizens who have been demanding stringent measures for safety of women in New Delhi, where barely months ago the rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student sparked public fury. Despite the government bringing into effect a new set of anti-rape laws, the accused brutally raped the child, who is now battling for her life at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was "deeply disturbed" to hear about the gruesome details of the case, and directed Delhi Lt Governor Tajender Khanna to take strictest possible action against the erring officials. Doctors confirmed on Friday evening that the child, who was kidnapped from her home in Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi four days ago, was subjected to horrific injuries to her private parts that resulted in mutilation and infection.
Protesters gathered outside AIIMS demanding justice for the minor rape survivor, bringing back memories of December, 2012, when massive protests against the gangrape of the Delhi braveheart paralysed New Delhi, forcing the government to take action and formulate new laws to tackle crime against women. Friday's crime again forced the authorities to act, with Home Ministry officials and top officers of the Delhi Police holding a meeting to discuss the matter.
The family, neighbours and the relatives of the rape survivor have alleged the police was too slow to take action against the culprits and in fact offered a bribe of Rs 2000 to the parents to suppress the case. The police, however, denied the charges. East Delhi DCP Prabhakar rubbished the claim and said the mother of the child, along with a relative, came to the police station and a case of kidnapping was registered immediately. "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," said Prabhakar.
DCP Prabhakar also defended police saying the complaint was registered as soon as the mother came to report to report that the child was missing. He also said the hunt for the main accused, who has been identified, was on and that he is likely to be caught soon.
In a bid to provide the rape survivor with best possible care, her treatment was shifted from the Dayanand Hospital to AIIMS, but not without high drama. A Delhi Police officer was placed under suspension for hitting a woman protester outside the hospital. ACP Bani Singh Ahlawat was caught on camera hitting the woman and pushing away another. A spokesperson of the Delhi Police called the incident shameful and said an inquiry had been ordered against him.
East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit and Health Minister AK Walia also visited the survivor at the Dayanand Hospital. However, they were both heckled by the protesters who had gathered outside the hospital, even as Walia stressed on the need for "police reforms".
Delhi Police has formed two teams to track the accused even as charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, attempt to murder have been pressed against him. "We have tracked down the relatives of the accused. Teams have been dispatched to various locations and are camping there to nab the accused," DCP Prabhakar said while addressing a presser on Friday night.
Even as Ministry of Home Affairs took serious note of the incident, questions remained on whether the newly enforced anti-rape laws have done nothing to scare sexual predators and to tackle crime against women.