Early morning arrest of the second accused in Bihar in the brutal rape of the five-year-old girl did little to calm protesters in Delhi who again took to the streets even as an under-fire police chief shrugged off calls to step down.
Protesters blocked roads, laid siege to several vital installations, including the Parliament complex while the DMRC — on the instructions of the Delhi Police — shut down Udyog Bhavan, Central Secretariat and Race Course Road Metro stations to keep angry people at bay.
As the protesters once again gathered at the police headquarters demanding Neeraj Kumar’s resignation, the commissioner blamed rising instances of sexual assault on social depravity as opposed to lax policing.
Demanding that the Kumar be sacked immediately, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the Delhi’s top police officer had links with navy war room case accused Abhishek Verma. Kumar dismissed the charge as baseless and said he would initiate legal action.
Addressing a press conference, Kumar, whose term ends June 30, said he was absolutely satisfied with his tenure.
He had taken appropriate disciplinary action against the personnel found wanting in the rape case as per Lt Gov Tejendra Khanna's directions.
"If my resignation will stop rapes, I will resign a thousand times," he said. Society needed to introspect if it wanted an end to sexual violence.
"Is it humanly possible for a policeman to prevent a case like this? Can the police prevent it?" Rapes were opportunist crimes committed within the confines of private spaces, he said. "Ninety-seven per cent of such cases are committed within the confines of homes, only 3% are committed by strangers," he said.
Early Monday, 19-year-old Pradeep, the second man accused of brutalising the five-year-old, was arrested from Bihar's Barahiya village near Lakhisarai. He has been handed over to the Delhi Police for three days by a local court. "I made a mistake, a big mistake," Pradeep told a local reporter on his way to the airport.
On April 15, the five-year-old was playing outside her home when Manoj allegedly abducted her. He and Pradeep allegedly took turns to rape and brutalise the girl, who was found two days later locked in a room right below her home. Doctors said a hair oil bottle and candles were pushed inside her. There were cut marks on her neck as well.