Outrage grew on Saturday after the gang rape of two minor girls — one aged two-and-half years and the other five — in the national capital, prompting chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to again raise his demand for control of the police force to be transferred from the Centre to his government.
The five-year-old was allegedly assaulted by two men known to her family. Police arrested three men overnight in the case. Tests showed the girl was raped multiple times, after locals managed to catch her alleged assailants and hand them over to the authorities.
“When will Delhi wake up? Till when will girls continue to be brutalized in Indian capital. Gangrape of 2.5 year n 5 year old. Shameful,” Delhi Commission for Women chairwomen Swati Maliwal tweeted on Saturday.
The two-and-half-year-old girl was allegedly abducted from near a ‘Ramlila’ event outside her home at Ranhola in West Delhi by two men on a motorcycle. She was gang-raped and dumped in the area with severe injuries. “I just want those culprits caught and be brought in front of me,” father of girl told ANI.
Describing the assaults as “extremely shocking”, Maliwal told NDTV that violence against women had assumed “epidemic proportions” in Delhi.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed anguish over the rapes, terming them “shameful and worrying”. He blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for the security situation in Delhi.
“Repeated rape of minors is shameful and worrying. Delhi police has completely failed to provide safety. What are PM n his LG (lieutenant governor) doing?,” Kejriwal tweeted before meeting the victims. “PM sir, give control of delhi police to del govt for one year. If situation does not improve, take it back (sic),” he added.
After meeting the victims in the hospital, Kejriwal said they were out of danger. “But if we all don’t work together to deal with such incidents, it will be very problematic.”
Attacking the AAP leader over the crimes, former Delhi CM and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit said: “People of Delhi are feeling the need for coordinated administration, Kejriwal ji should pay heed to it. “Impression that comes out is not of a CM who wants Delhi to improve but one behaving as a mere politician opposing everything.”
Kejriwal was scheduled to meet Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Sunday over the law and order situation in Delhi.
Ranjana Kumari, head of Delhi-based Centre for Social Research, said the ongoing turf war between the Modi and Kejriwal governments left Delhi vulnerable to such horrific crimes. “Delhi is not safe and secure for women and the situation is deteriorating,” Kumari told AFP.
“Most of these incidents have been reported in lower income areas like slums and densely populated areas, where mostly migrants stay. These men live in crammed spaces with no social or parental control and usually no fear of law,” she said.
The two-year-old girl had stepped out of her home with her grandmother after a power cut late on Friday night, police said. She was playing while her grandmother sat nearby. The girl reportedly ran towards the main road and witnesses told police two men on a motorcycle had taken her away at about 11 pm.
When the grandmother couldn’t locate the girl, she raised an alarm. “The girl’s relatives came to the police station to get a complaint registered, following which we dispatched search teams. The girl was found two hours later behind the bushes in a jungle nearby. She was found to be bleeding,” a police official said.
The five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by two men known to her family in Anand Vihar area of East Delhi. The men, reportedly inebriated at the time, dumped her near her home after the assault.
“She returned home crying and narrated the episode to her parents, after which the locals hunted the accused down. They were reportedly beaten up by the public and then handed over to police. Both of them were drunk. We have arrested them and registered a case against them,” a police official said.
Officials at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital said the injuries on the girl’s body and private parts suggested she was brutally assaulted. A medical examination confirmed the rape.
“The nature of injuries on the private parts suggests she was subjected to torture. Since it happened in a jungle, she even had thorns in her body,” a source said.
While 11,000 FIRs were registered for crimes against women in 2014, there were only nine convictions, she said. “There is no data on POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) crimes,” she added.
With inputs from agencies