Protests that began on Friday grew more intense following reports that cops offered the victim’s family Rs 2,000 not to file a case
New Delhi - Protests over the rape of a five-year-old girl erupted in Delhi on Saturday, with people staging demonstrations across the capital, including the outside the residence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Delhi police headquarters.
Demonstrations were also held in front of AIIMS, where the girl is being treated, and outside the Gandhi Nagar police station, where policemen allegedly showed laxity in dealing with the case. In the early hours of Saturday, a Delhi police team arrested the accused, identified as Manoj Kumar, from his in-laws’ house in Bihar and brought him to the capital.
Kumar, a labourer in a garment factory, told the police that he fled his house in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar, thinking the girl had died. Twenty-two-year-old Kumar, who lived in an apartment in the same building where the victim lives, is accused of repeatedly assaulting the child and inserting foreign objects into her body.
Manoj Kumar is accused of repeated assault and inserting foreign objects into the victim’s body
Protests that began on Friday grew more intense after video footage showed a policeman slapping a woman protester, and following reports that cops offered the victim's family Rs 2,000 not to file a case.
The assault on the girl revived memories of the gang rape of a 23-yearold paramedical student on a moving bus last December.
That woman died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital. The case triggered nationwide protests, prompting the government to bring out a new anti-rape law. On Saturday, a group of men and women kicked and pushed yellow metal barricades at various places in their attempt to break through.
The girl was “conscious and alert” and her condition stable, but she has contracted infections. The attacks on her were so severe that she may need corrective surgery, an official from All India Institute of Medical Sciences told reporters.
Will probe police laxity: Shinde
In the backdrop of allegations that some policemen tried to hush up the rape, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde promised to probe the matter. “An inquiry is going on to find out if there was any lapse on the part of the police.
We will take action against the policemen if they are found guilty. Give us some time, we will take action,” Shinde said. Asked if recent reports of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar's likely removal were true, Shinde said, “I have ordered an inquiry into the two recent incidents- what happened to Mamata Banerjee at the Planning Commission and the case of some people entering my house. Action will be taken against those found responsible for it.
Cong, AAP spar over ‘politicising’ of rape
A bitter war of words broke out on Saturday between the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP) that has been spearheading protests against the the rape of a five-year-old girl, alleging police apathy.
Accusing the AAP of raking up issues only in front of TV cameras, Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said, “How come Kejriwal's activists take up only issues covered by news channels? They did not take note of two similar cases in my East Lok Sabha constituency that I handled when there was no media.”
In reply, Shazial Ilmi of AAP said the party ensured a first information report was filed. “But for our activists on the scene, the police wouldn’t even have registered an FIR. Common people are forced to take up politics because of the insensitive manner in which politicians are conducting themselves,” Ilmi said.
- Lakshmi Iyer
UNICEF condemns rape
Meanwhile, UNICEF also condemned the rape and called for ‘stronger and immediate action’ to improve the safety of girls in the country. More than 7,200 kids, including infants are raped every year in India, the organisation said in a statement.
‘Nothing short of the death sentence will help’
► We must introspect at the erosion of values and our repeated failure to ensure the security of women and children
- Pranab Mukherjee President
► It is time for action, not words. A situation should be created so that no one dares to commit a similar crime
- Sonia Gandhi Congress President
► It is a shocking incident and the way this fiveyear- old girl was raped shows the sick mentality of men
- Krishna Tirath Women, Child Dev. Minister
► Nothing short of death sentence in cases of rape of children and cases involving brutality and barbarity will help
- Sushma Swaraj Senior BJP leader