India: Outrage in Delhi After Girls, Ages 2 and 5, Separately Raped
Two young girls ages 2 and 5 were brutally raped in separate attacks in the Indian capital of Delhi on Friday, just days after a 4-year-old girl was left for dead after a similar assault.
The Times of India reports the first incident involved a 2-year-old who was allegedly abducted outside her home in Nangloi in west Delhi by two men on a motorbike.
The victim’s mother told NDTV the child was watching a performance of ‘ramleela,’ a dramatic re-enactment of the life of the Hindu deity figure Rama, when she was abducted. “There was a power cut. That’s when she was kidnapped,” the woman said.
Neighbors found the toddler lying unconscious and bleeding profusely in a nearby park. Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women, told reporters the victim suffered severe injuries to her private parts and also had bite marks on her body. The victim is hospitalized and listed in stable condition. Three suspects have been arrested.
In a separate attack on Friday evening, a 5-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by three neighbors in Anand Vihar, east Delhi.
“Her clothes were partially torn with blood stains all over them,” an officer from Anand Vihar police station told Agence France-Presse. “Some locals saw her and she told them she was sexually assaulted.”
The latest child rapes come just days after another girl, age 4, was abducted and viciously raped by attackers who allegedly lured her with a bowl of chow mein before gagging her, raping and biting her all over her body, slitting her throat and genitals and leaving her for dead in a slum in Keshavpuram. The child was found by a neighbor about an hour after the attack.
“We initially thought she had died but she started breathing minutes after her mother picked her up,” the victim’s grandfather told the Times of India. “We did not expect her to survive the kind of injuries she has.”
Most of the young child’s internal organs were damaged due to repeated penetration during the attack. She had to undergo multiple colostomy surgeries to allow her fluids to pass. She will be hospitalized for months and require up to six months of bed rest after that.
The continued attacks on women and girls in India’s capital have shamed and enraged many locals. More than 100 people gathered near the home of the 5-year-old victim on Saturday afternoon, attempting to block traffic and verbally attacking police for doing to little to stop the brutal rapes that plague the city of 16 million inhabitants.
“[Police] are not doing anything to arrest the rapists. We don’t feel safe in this city and there will be a day when parents will stop giving birth to girls fearing they will be raped,” a female relative of the victim who wished to remain anonymous for fear of her safety told reporters.
“When will Delhi wake up? Till when will girls continue to be brutalized in Indian capital?” tweeted Maliwal. “Gangrape of 2.5 year n 5 year old. Shameful.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also expressed his shock and outrage over the latest attacks, blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for the security situation in Delhi.
“Repeated rape of minors is shameful and worrying,” Kejriwal tweeted before going to meet the hospitalized victims. “Delhi police has completely failed to provide safety. What are PM n his LG (lieutenant governor) doing?”
Delhi city officials say there is little they can do to improve safety for women, pointing the finger at Modi and the central government, which controls Delhi’s metropolitan police force of 84,000 officers, the largest such department in the world.
While rapes occur everywhere there are people, such attacks, especially brutal gang rapes, have repeatedly made headlines in India and abroad following the 2012 death of Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old student who was traveling home with a male friend on a private Delhi bus when she was set upon by all the other passengers and driver. Bus driver Mukesh Singh blamed his victim, telling the BBC that she would still be alive is she would “just be silent and allow the rape.”
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boys and girls are not equal,” he said, expressing a widespread belief in the world’s second-most populous nation and beyond. “A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night.”
Singh and the other defendants were sentenced to death, but remain in prison pending decisions by India’s Supreme Court.