Reports of a gruesome sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl have sparked heated protests directed toward police and government in India’s capital of New Delhi.
Last Monday the 5-year-old girl went missing in East Delhi after going out to play. On Wednesday the child’s family found her bleeding and brutalized in a locked room in the same building where the girl lived. Doctors found a glass bottle and pieces of a candle forced into her private parts.
“This is the first time I have seen such barbarism,” R.K. Bansal, the medical superintendent of Swami Dayanand Hospital, said in a televised interview, noting that the girl’s condition has stabilised and she’s responding to treatment.
The child’s parents said they repeatedly begged police to register a complaint and begin a search after their daughter disappeared, but they were rejected. After finding the girl, the parents said they were offered 2,000 rupees ($37) to keep quiet about what had happened.
“They just wanted us to go away,” the girl’s father told The Associated Press. “They didn’t want to register a case even after they saw how badly our daughter was injured.”
Two men have now been arrested in the case. For the last three days protestors gathered at various official buildings in Delhi to protests the poor response to sexual violence by police and the government.
The AP notes that more than 90,000 children go missing in India each year and more than 34,000 are never found. The protests also include recurring anger from a fatal gang rape of an Indian woman in December and the rape of a Swiss tourist in March.
“We are angry … Every four hours, news is coming that there is a rape,” a 34-year-old businessman told NPR. “This kills our souls. We also have daughters 4 and 5 years old … Neither the police commissioner nor the Home Ministry has any effect … For how long are they going to make fools of the people?”
On Monday Delhi’s Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that local police screwed up in their handling the case and the station house office rand his deputy have been suspended.
“The government is just not ready to confront the issue of trafficking or missing children,” Bhuwan Ribhu, a lawyer with the Save the Childhood Movement, told the AP. “And this gets reflected in the apathy of the police in dealing with cases of missing children.”
The Save the Childhood Movement contends that authorities have not cracked one of the more than 815 criminal gangs that the Central Bureau of Investigation said in 2006 were kidnapping children for begging, prostitution, or ransom.
Numerous parents of victims have claimed the police have done little to help and often treated the cases as nuisances unless they are bribed.
“If I were rich, my son would have been found by now,” a man whose 12-year-old son was kidnapped three years ago. “If I had money, the police would have taken the case more seriously.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.