Police threw a 10-year-old dalit girl, allegedly a victim of sexual assault, into lockup for 20 hours, when her parents brought her to the all-women police station in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, to lodge a complaint on Sunday evening.
"She was put behind bars on Sunday night and released on Monday evening," said the girl's father.
On Tuesday, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Bulandshahr, Gulab Singh suspended two women constables and sent two sub inspectors to the police lines by way of punishment. "It was gross negligence on the part of the police," he said.
The girl was found lying unconscious in a field by her parents on Sunday. That evening they took her to the Kotwali Nagar police station, where a case was lodged against fellow villager 28-year old Harendra. Thereafter, the girl was sent for medical examination.
That done, the girl and her mother were sent to the all-women police station, where the girl was put into the lockup. All of Monday she remained unattended as all the officers went to attend the SSP`s monthly crime meeting.
The incident came to light when a TV journalist got wind of the situation, reached the police station, filmed the girl in the lockup and showed the footage to the SSP. The girl was released after the SSP intervened.
"Initial investigation indicates it could be a case of attempt to rape," said Singh.
On Tuesday, police nabbed Harendra as he was trying to flee the city. He said: "I simply scolded the girl for stealing tomatoes. Charges of rape are baseless."