The wife of Manoj, the prime accused in the brutal rape of a five-year old girl in New Delhi, has declared her husband is innocent and demanded his release amid nationwide protests.
Twenty-five-year-old Manoj was arrested from Muzaffarpur after police gathered inputs of him hiding at his in-laws village near Chiknouta.
"I know that someone has trapped him, as he is not capable of doing such a crime because I know him very well from two years and I have been living with him from a year," said Manoj's wife.
The girl, whose parents work as labourers and live in a slum in the outskirts of Delhi, went missing from home on April 15, according to Manish Sisodia, an official of the Aam Aadmi Party which organised Friday's protest.
She was found with bruise marks on her body in the suspect's house in a semi-conscious condition on Thursday by police after her parents had registered a complaint, media reports said.
The suspect, who fled, allegedly held the girl hostage for three days during which he raped and tortured her.
"He told me that there was a girl of 5-6 years old, she has been brutally murdered by others, and thus, I have come here out of fear, as all the people are getting arrested there. When I asked, he accepted that the incident had happened in his room itself. He said that when he had gone outside to buy vegetables, the crime had occurred," said wife of the rape accused.
A villager, Radheshyam Sharma, said that the villagers condemn the incident and the accused should be given the harshest punishment.
"The entire village is pretty tensed about the incident. The villagers are really distressed by this. I appeal that the accused should the highest punishment possible; he deserves to be hanged. He doesn't deserve the right to live in the society."
The brutal crime has triggered a protest march towards in the national capital by her relatives and political activists, reawakening concerns about safety for women and girls.
The girl's rape, which left her in a critical condition, revived memories of the brutal gang rape by five adult men and a teenaged boy of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a moving bus on December 16 in New Delhi. The girl died of severe internal injuries in a Singapore hospital.