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India protests rape of five year old
April 22, 2013, 9:08 am


A woman protestor clashes with police during a demonstration in front of the police headquarters in New Delhi [Xinhua]

The area around the India Gate in Delhi was cordoned off by police late on Sunday, amid protests sparked by a brutal rape of a five-year-old girl.

Following a sit-in by Indian students, police built cordons and brought water cannons to the area.

Both houses of the Indian Parliament were adjourned for the first session of the day on Monday morning amid protests by members against the incident.

Security was also enhanced in other areas where protests erupted, including the city’s police headquarters and the residences of prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The Delhi Metro shut its Race Course Road station near the prime minister’s residence after a request from the police, local media reported.

The government on Monday said an inquiry has been ordered into the lapses on part of police to investigate her disappearance and attempt to hush up the matter.

Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said: “The Joint CP (Vigilance) has been asked to conduct an inquiry. The Jt CP (Vigilance) shall also enquire into the allegation that the local police paid some money to the father of the victim to hush up the case.”

According to police and local news reports, the 5-year-old girl, Gudiya, was abducted on Monday evening while playing in front of the building where her family lives in a New Delhi slum.

She was allegedly kept hostage by her neighbour, Manoj Kumar, a 22-year-old garment factory worker, who tortured and repeatedly raped her.

The Indian prime minister has said he was, “Deeply disturbed to hear news of the shameful incident in which a 5 year-old child in Delhi was sexually abused and is now in hospital.”

Singh reiterated: “the need for society to look deep within and work to root out the evil of rape and other such crimes from our midst.”

Protestors, most of them students and women, demand the resignation of Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

Sexual violence against women has become a pressing issue in India, with demonstrations and protests being voiced on the streets.

The case comes four months after a 23-year-old student was beaten and raped by six drunken men on a bus in New Delhi.

She later died of sustained injuries in a Singapore hospital.

Source: Agencies