A nine-year-old girl from Jharkhand who was raped in July fought back and the teeth marks she left on his left hand led investigators to nail the suspect after he was arrested in connection with another crime five days later.
The girl was kidnapped from her bed where she was sleeping beside her mother and raped by a man she called “uncle” on July 3 in the state’s East Singhbhum district. Her brother woke up and in the physical scuffle that ensued, the 42-year-old’s pants fell off – which the police recovered, along with his driving licence.
When he was picked up five days later for allegedly breaking into another girl’s home in a neighbouring village, the man’s physical description fitted the nine-year-old’s description of her rapist as a bald, bearded man with a familiar voice and a cloth-covered face.
The girl is now recovering at Medanta Hospital in Ranchi after help poured in from around the world following a HT report on the plight of her family.
“She told the police his face was covered, so they said it had to be a man she recognised,” said her father, who works as a daily-wage labourer. “The police said they were surprised she could give such a lucid description.” Police said the licence helped them identify the suspect while the bite marks were crucial in linking him with the case.
“I know the man, he calls me brother, she calls him uncle. He drinks a lot, which must have fuddled his brain. Why else would somebody do it?” says her father, struggling to come to terms with the trauma.
“Our home doesn’t even a door. I have no enemies and thought I had nothing worth stealing," he said. ”I was wrong.”
After the weeping girl reached home, she was taken to Ranchi’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), where an emergency procedure was done to make her stool bypass the damaged intestines. But she needed expensive reconstruction surgery to be free of infection and live without having to carry a bag filled with her body waste 24x7.
On August 29, Hindustan Times carried a report highlighting how her desperately poor father trudged 4km each day, carrying her in his arms, to reach medical treatment. Within hours, help from readers, doctors and government poured in. Medanta Ranchi offered to treat her free and now the nine-year-old and her family live in a private hospital room.
She smiled for the first in two months on Friday when nurses promised her rice pudding for being a cooperative patient.
“She had third-degree perineum tears, which involves severe injury to the perineum, vagina and rectum, for which she underwent perineum tear repair and perineum fistula repair on September 2,” says Dr NAM Ali, senior surgeon at Medanta Ranchi, who is heading the team looking after her.
“Once the rectum heals, we will close the colostomy in another four to five weeks so she can be physically active like other girls her age.”