Saturday, April 20, 2013

Delhi outrage over child rape, police ‘callousness’

NEW DELHI, April 20, 2013

Angry protests spilled onto the streets of the Capital on Friday over the alleged insensitivity and inaction of the Delhi Police in handling the rape of a five-year-old girl, whose condition continues to be critical at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences here.

After the girl was abducted, she was brutalised, subjected to unnatural sex and kept in confinement for over two days at Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi.

Expressing shock, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a statement said he was "deeply disturbed" to hear the news of the shameful incident. Taking cognisance of the widespread protests and allegations of the police offering hush money to the victim's parents, the Home Ministry has also sought a report on the incident.

An Assistant Commissioner of Police, who assaulted a young protester at Swami Dayanand Hospital, where the girl was earlier admitted in the Intensive Care Unit, has been suspended.

Earlier on Friday, protesters started converging at the hospital around 9 a.m. after news of the brutal rape broke. Volunteers of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party also joined in demanding that the victim be shifted to AIIMS.

Amid ongoing protests, East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit and Delhi Health Minister A.K. Walia visited the hospital to enquire about the victim's condition. They were heckled by the protesters. Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia, who arrived later, had to retreat as the protesters blocked her way.

Following hectic consultations, in the late afternoon the authorities concerned decided to shift the victim to AIIMS, where activists of the All India Students' Association also staged a protest against the alleged police inaction. They demanded stringent action against the ACP of Khajuri Khas sub-division who assaulted a protester, which damaged her eardrum.

Accusing the police of callousness, the victim's relatives said the girl had gone missing on Monday, after which they lodged a missing report. "She was locked up in a room on the ground floor of the building where we live on the first floor. We rescued her after some of the tenants raised an alarm on hearing her cries on Wednesday morning," said a relative, alleging that the police had offered Rs. 2,000 to the victim's parents to "keep quiet." The police have identified the accused as Manoj who had taken the room on rent about a week ago.
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