Ten days after a photojournalist was gangraped in the city, a five-year-old girl playing in a garden in Jogeshwari (West) was lured away with a chocolate and raped by a 22-year-old man on Sunday. The accused, Salman Khan, was arrested on Monday.
The girl, who was hospitalised in a critical condition, is now better. Medical examination has confirmed that she was raped.
As more and more horrific incidents of rape and abuse are reported from across India, the rising number of offences against women in the city gives weight to the contention that Mumbai, which once gave women the confidence of safety, has also become unsafe.
The police said the incident took place after the five-year-old’s uncle took her and two other children to Tukaram Omble park, where Khan was incidentally loitering. “Around 7.15pm, while the girl was playing — her uncle was a few metres away — Khan lured her away with a chocolate. He took her to an isolated spot near Behram Baug slums and raped her,” said Baburao Mukhedkar, inspector, Oshiwara police station.
Soon after, the girl’s uncle realised that she was not in the park and began searching for her and alerted her parents.
The child’s neighbours, too, started looking for her. The girl’s father is a labourer while her mother is a homemaker.
Around 8pm, the police found the girl abandoned in an isolated spot with injuries on her private parts and took her to Cooper hospital.
The police then informed her parents and registered a case.
“We launched a combing operation and detained 25 persons for questioning. Based on the girl’s description of the accused, Khan was identified and arrested on Monday,” Mukhedkar said.
Khan was under the influence of some intoxicant when he raped the child, show medical reports. He does not have a criminal background, said an officer, adding that Khan had arrived in the city from West Bengal only a fortnight ago. He has been booked for kidnapping and rape under sections of the Indian Penal Code.