In a throwback to the December days when massive protests engulfed Delhi in the wake of the 16/12 gang rape, the brutal sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl in her school triggered violent clashes between locals and police in outer Delhi’s Mangolpuri on Friday.
The Class 2 student was attacked by an unidentified person in a classroom at the MCD-run Nigam Pratibha Vidyalaya during lunch break on Thursday. He allegedly gagged her, tied her hands and feet and sexually assaulted her. The bell saved her from being raped, her father told the police.
The next morning, the locality — considered by many to be among Delhi’s most lawless — was abuzz with rumours that a girl had been raped on the school premises and had died of her injuries, even as a PCR call was made and the victim rushed to the nearby Sanjay Gandhi Memorial (SGM) Hospital. The mob arrived at the hospital, too, where they pelted the police with stones and ran riot.
Police said protesters entered the hospital and broke window panes in the ICU, which housed five critical patients at the time.
The hospital area remained tense through the day as the police lathi-charged the mob. The rampage left more than a dozen people — including four policemen — injured and several vehicles — including DTC buses and police vans — damaged. Over a dozen people were arrested.
Two male teachers and three employees were questioned in connection with the sexual assault, which school authorities denied had taken place on campus.
Police said the girl did not open up to her parents initially, even when her mother noticed blood on her clothes and questioned her on Thursday night. However, she later narrated the entire incident to her father, who took her to a private clinic. The doctor there told them she had injuries in her private parts and referred them to a bigger hospital.
"The assailant threatened her that he would kill her and her parents and throw their bodies in a drain if she raised an alarm," the father told the police.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who called it "an inhuman, shameful and shocking incident", said "the municipal corporation must strengthen its existing security infrastructure in schools".