A week after the rape and torture of a four-year-old girl in Delhi, two more children were gang-raped in separate incidents Friday in the Indian capital, prompting state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to question what steps the Prime Minister and Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (LG) have taken to stop repeated attacks on minors.
The girl raped last week is still undergoing treatment in a hospital.
Delhi’s police reports to the Union home ministry, and the LG, appointed by the Union government, also has a say in law and order.
In the first case, a five-year-old girl was raped in a building at Anand Vihar, East Delhi, where she lives with her parents.
The incident came to light when she ran out of the building crying and profusely bleeding around 5.30 pm.
When neighbours asked her to identify the attacker, she mentioned the name of one of the tenants in the building.
While she was rushed to a hospital, angry neighbors barged into the tenant’s room where they found him drinking with two men. They dragged the three out and thrashed them before someone called the police.
The trio — identified as Prakash, Sitaram and Revati — were rescued by the police and placed under arrest after medical treatment. They have been remanded in judicial custody until October 30.
In the second case, two juveniles abducted and raped a two-and-a-half-year-old girl during a one-minute power outage at Nangloi in West Delhi.
The incident happened at night when the girl, drawn by her favorite song being played from a nearby park, let go of her grandmother’s hand and started running towards the park.
The two boys, who followed her, grabbed the toddler when the power went off suddenly, took her to a secluded area and raped her.
On Saturday night, police arrested two 17-year-old boys after rounding up and questioning more than 250 suspects from Nangloi locality.
“The two confessed to their crime during interrogation,” said Dependra Pathak, Joint CP (South-Western Range).
Kejriwal and Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal visited the rape survivors at hospital.
Kejriwal tweeted: “Repeated rape of minors is shameful and worrying. Delhi Police has completely failed to provide safety. What are the PM n his LG doing?”
Maliwal termed the incidents as “disgusting” and “shameful”.
“When will Delhi wake up? Until when will girls continue to be brutalised in the Indian capital? Gangrape of 2.5 year n 5 year old. Shameful,” she said in a tweet.
Kejriwal, who had earlier attacked Delhi police for their failures to prevent rapes, also described as “shameful” a top police officer’s remarks that “rapes happen everywhere.”
Deepak Mishra, senior special commissioner (law and order), had told ANI: “Be it London or America, rapes happen everywhere. It’s our responsibility to fight hard against it… Delhi chief minister’s views are his perception. If Delhi Police is bad, aren’t police forces elsewhere also bad? To expect police to bang on the door of every household is probably super hypothetical.”
Later, Mishra said he was quoted “out of context”.
“I essentially said rape is a social evil which can happen anywhere and it is high time we all put our head and heart into the eradication of this social menace,” he said.
BJP leader in spot over remark
Meanwhile, in Karnataka state, a senior BJP leader, who had courted controversy earlier over his remarks on sexual assaults, waded into a fresh row Saturday by asking a woman journalist what the opposition parties could do if she was raped.
The comment by KS Eshwarappa, a former deputy chief minister, came when he was asked about the opposition’s alleged inaction in ensuring safety of women in the Congress-ruled state.
“…If someone … rapes you, what can (the) opposition do?” Eshwarappa asked the journalist from a local channel.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah hit back by saying: “When has Eshwarappa ever made a sensible statement?”
Earlier, commenting on sexual assaults happening in education institutions in Bengaluru city, Eshwarappa had said the chief minister and home minister would act only “when their own daughters get raped”.
Shortly after he made the comment Saturday, Eshwarappa said: “Karnataka women as my sisters. We too are asking the state government what they are doing [to prevent such rapes],” Eshwarappa said, adding the “opposition is doing all it can for women’s security.”