Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked a top Delhi Police officer for saying “rapes happen everywhere” on Saturday after a toddler and a five-year-old girl were allegedly gang-raped in separate attacks in the Capital.
“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 are police forces elsewhere also bad?” Deepak Mishra, senior special commissioner (law and order), was earlier quoted by news channels as saying. “To expect police to bang on the door of every household is probably super hypothetical,” he told ANI.
While Kejriwal called Mishra’s comment “shameful”, deputy CM Manish Sisodia said “politics” over such incidents was “much needed” in light of “irresponsible attitude” of senior police officials. He was alluding to allegations that the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi was politicising the issue of women’s safety.
“This is shameful. Completely insensitive. Hope PM and his LG don’t subscribe to it,” Kejriwal tweeted after Mishra’s remark was reported. “Yes it is politics. Specially when we see such irresponsible attitude from top cops, this politics is much needed (sic),” Sisodia posted on Twitter.
Reacting to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s allegation that the chief minister was playing “shallow politics” over the rapes, Sisodia said: “Yes we are in politics and its politics against crime. Not to protect rapists-murderers like many politicians doing shamelessly every day.”
When contacted, Mishra said that the reactions to his “misunderstood” comments were “out of context”. “I essentially said that rape is a social evil which can happen anywhere and it is high time that we all should put our head and heart into the eradication of the social menace,” Mishra said.
The rapes brought focus back on rampant sexual violence in the Delhi and sparked a political blame game on Saturday as Kejriwal targeted the lieutenant governor and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Two men on a motorcycle allegedly abducted a two-and-a-half-year-old girl from near her Nihal Vihar home in west Delhi, sexually assaulted her and dumped her in the area bleeding profusely. While no arrests have been made in the case, locals thrashed three men accused of raping a neighbour’s daughter in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar before handing them over to police.
Kejriwal latched onto the situation to demand control over the city’s police.
Angry crowds, meanwhile, gathered to accuse the police of failing to act over the rape of the toddler, with outrage mounting after the gang-rape of a five-year-old girl in a separate attack.
An agitated crowd of more than 100 people gathered near the toddler’s home late Saturday afternoon attempting to block traffic and lambasting the police’s failure to make arrests in the case, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
“They (police) are not doing anything to arrest the rapists. We don’t feel safe in this city and there will be a day when parents will stop giving birth to girls fearing they will be raped,” a female relative of the girl told reporters without giving her name.
“We have launched a manhunt for the suspects. So far no one has been arrested,” Pushpendra Kumar, West Delhi police chief, told AFP of the younger girl’s case. “Two men were involved in the abduction of the girl and the tests have confirmed rape,” Kumar said, adding that further examinations would show whether both men raped the toddler.
He said they found the younger child bleeding profusely several hours after she went missing. Authorities have released CCTV footage of two men riding away on a motorbike with the victim in an attempt to catch the alleged perpetrators.
Separately, police in eastern Delhi arrested three men overnight in the case of the five-year-old victim, whom tests showed was raped multiple times, after locals managed to catch her alleged assailants.
With inputs from agencies