The unsuspecting parents of the five-year-old girl claimed to have seen the worst face of the Delhi Police over their four-day ordeal to locate their missing eldest child.
A nonchalant refusal to register a criminal case, a half-hearted investigation solely attributed to their low socio-economic background and a bribe of Rs. 2,000 to treat their battered child — the victim’s family claimed they were treated as a liability at every step both by the police and their landlord.
“We were just asking them to do their job,” said an incensed victim’s uncle. “They didn’t even want to register our case and simply told us that ‘she must be somewhere in the neighbourhood’. When we told them we had checked everywhere, they asked us to come back the next day even as she was being brutalised.”
“When they found her, the investigating officer called me to the police station in the evening and offered me Rs. 2,000 for her medical expenses. He said I should be thankful she was alive,” said her father.
On their part, the police claimed the case was akin to 97% sexual assault cases in which the perpetrator is known to the victim.
“The crime took place in a home,” said an officer. “The accused may not have been on talking terms with the victim and her family but that does not mean that he did not know of their presence.”
The harrowed family, whose youngest-born is a two-and-a-half-year-old son, claimed they had no reason to suspect someone as seemingly innocuous as a new neighbour.
“There was no interaction between us and Manoj, the accused neighbour, over the 10 days he was staying below our house. How were we supposed to know that he was looking for an opportunity to brutalise our daughter?” her father asked.