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Apr 21, 2013 at 10:41pm IST

Delhi minor rape: Public fury spills on to streets as protests reach PM's house

New Delhi: Protests over the rape of a 5-year-old minor girl continued for a second day in the national capital even as the accused in the case was produced in a court and remanded to judicial custody till May 14. Protesters marched to India Gate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official residence at 7, Race Course Road and police headquarters in solidarity with the minor girl who was brutally raped, nearly murdered and held captive without food or water by the accused Manoj Kumar for four days in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar area.

While some protesters at India Gate held peaceful protests, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers deflated tyres of Delhi Police buses and took away some of the barricades amidst stepped up police presence in the city. Rapid Action Force (RAF) was also deployed at India Gate, 7 RCR and police headquarters at ITO. Around 15-20 members of AAP tried to stage a protest in the evening near the Prime Minister's residence but were detained by the police.

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A senior police official Deepak Mishra said, "The rape case is a sensitive issue. The protesters may be causing inconvenience to others and adversely affecting rights of other people". Delhi Police deployed heavy barricades and dragged away protesters from the PM's residence on Sunday evening. Despite that, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) woman protesters tried to break police barricades near Congress President Sonia Gandhi's house at 10, Janpath. More than 30 BJP women protesters were detained by the police.

The demonstrations, also observed by women and student activists, continued throughout the day even as doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which is where the rape survivor is receiving her treatment, confirmed that the girl was out of danger and won't be undergoing anymore surgeries at the moment. She will, however, take a few more weeks to recover from the assault, the doctors added.

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Placard-wielding protesters also gathered at AIIMS and burnt the effigy of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar demanding his sacking. Traffic was disrupted at ITO and India Gate in the evening as the number of protesters swelled. More than 100 people, who staged protests at PHQ and near the residences of the PM and Sonia Gandhi, were detained and later released.

The protesters were in small groups unlike the thousands who had swamped India Gate and Rajpath in December 2012 following the rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus, but their anger was palpable. The 5-year-old was locked in a ground floor rented accommodation of 22-year-old Kumar, her neighbour, in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar where she was brutally raped before the accused fled on April 15 presuming that she is dead.

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The accused, meanwhile, told investigators that there was another man present with him during the time of the crime, a claim which is being verified. The survivor was held in captivity and savagely assaulted for two days while the police took time in filing an FIR and launching a search. On Saturday, anger erupted in Delhi against the police as protests took place outside Delhi Police headquarters, outside Gandhi Nagar police station, at AIIMS and outside the Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's residence.

As the anger over the gruesome rape spilled onto the capital's streets, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said collective efforts were needed to root out such "depravity" from society. "The gruesome assault on a little child reminds us of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society. All of us have the social responsibility to provide security to women. The safety, security and status of women in our country is a matter of concern. We have to make vast improvements in this area," he added.

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Meanwhile, the wife of the accused has said her husband should be punished is he has committed the crime. However, she denied the allegation that she was raped by the accused who was forced to marry her.

"It was a false case slapped on him due to a land dispute. There is no truth in this," she said. She said that she heard about the rape of the five-year-old girl allegedly by her husband. "I have not seen her. I don't know that family," she said.

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(With Additional Inputs From PTI)