A toilet in their house would have saved their seven-year-old girl from being raped, her Dalit parents complained on Thursday, and accused the village sarpanch of not paying heed to their requests in MP.
The Class 1 girl was raped by an unknown person late on Monday night when she went to attend nature’s call in the fields close to their house in Runha village in Nazirabad area of Bhopal district, 75km from the capital.
The second of three daughters, and a son, of the labourer couple is now undergoing treatment at Kamla Nehru Hospital in Bhopal.
“Had a toilet been built for our family, my little ‘gudia’ (daughter) would not have been battling for life on the hospital bed,” her mother told HT.
“In the last 3-4 months, both my husband and I met the sarpanch, Akhilesh Patel requesting him to build a toilet at our home. But despite submitting all the required documents, he did not help,” she said and also accused Patel of demanding a bribe of Rs 6,000.
The inconsolable mother appealed to the sarpanch to build a toilet “for my family and every poor family so that the savagery which happened to my gudia is not repeated, even with daughter of the one who committed it.”
However, Patel refuted the allegations, saying the couple “never requested me or any other panchayat member for a toilet”.
“What has happened to their daughter is certainly unfortunate,” he said, and promised that he would personally get a toilet built for them within a month.
Police are yet to identify the culprit despite questioning more than 20 persons. “We are still not in a position to say whether the accused is from the village or outside, especially as the victim is unable to identify him,” assistant sub inspector of Nazirabad police station, BS Verma said, adding that they are camping in the village to track down the culprit.
Fear has gripped Runha village after the incident.
“Forget about night, we’re not allowing our daughters to go out alone even during the day. If this can happen to a seven-year-old girl, it can happen to my 15-year-old daughter also,” the victim’s neighbour, who also lacks a toilet in their house, said. The village which has more than 3,400 people, has around 150 toilets.
Of the three in the victim’s locality, two are in the house of Fateh Singh, an aged Gurjar farmer, while the other one belongs to Donger Singh, a Thakur.
“Had the little girl’s family been given a toilet, she would have remained safe,” Fateh Singh said.