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Protests erupt against police after 5-year-old raped in India

By Nirmala George

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:39 a.m. HST, Apr 21, 2013

NEW DELHI >> The condition of a 5-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped, raped and tortured by a man and then left alone in a locked room in India's capital for two days has improved, a doctor said today, as protests continued over the authorities' handling of the case.

The girl was in critical condition when she was transferred Thursday from a local hospital to the largest government-run hospital in the country. But D.K. Sharma, medical superintendent of the state-run hospital in New Delhi where the girl was being treated, said today that she was responding well to treatment and that her condition had stabilized.

Police say the girl went missing April 15 and was found two days later by neighbors who heard her crying in a locked room in the same New Delhi building where she lives with her family. The girl was alone when she was found, having been left for dead by the man following the brutal attack, police say.

A 24-year-old man was arrested Saturday in the eastern state of Bihar, about 620 miles from New Delhi, in connection with the incident. After being flown to New Delhi, he was in custody today and was being questioned, police said.

The incident came four months after the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus sparked outrage across India about the treatment of women in the country.

For the second consecutive day, hundreds of people protested today outside police headquarters in the capital, angry over allegations that police had ignored complaints by the girl's parents that she was missing.

About 100 supporters of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party protested outside the home of the chief of the ruling Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, demanding that the government ensure the safety and security of women and girls in the city.

The protesters also demanded that the Delhi police chief be removed from office and that police officials accused of failing to act on the parents' complaint be dismissed.

"Police and other officials that fail to do their jobs and instead engage in abusive behavior should know that they will be punished," Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said today.

Police said they detained more than 50 protesters when they tried to break down barricades on the road leading to Gandhi's house. The protesters were released after a few hours.

Police also placed restrictions on the gathering of more than four people on the main avenue in the heart of New Delhi after university students said they planned to hold a demonstration there later Sunday. Despite the police order, about 100 students gathered at New Delhi's iconic India Gate monument and held a peaceful protest late Sunday.

Sexual crimes against women and children are reported every day in Indian newspapers, and women often complain about their sense of insecurity when they leave their homes.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for changes in attitudes toward women in India, where there has been a fierce debate since December's fatal New Delhi gang rape about the routine mistreatment of females.

"The gruesome assault on the little girl a few days back reminds us once again of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society," Singh said Sunday at a meeting with civil servants.

A day earlier, Singh had urged Indian society "to look within and work to root out the evil of rape and other such crimes from our midst."

The fatal beating and gang rape of a young woman aboard a moving New Delhi bus sparked outrage and spurred the government to pass tough laws for crimes against women, including the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim's death.

But activists say that merely passing strong laws is not enough, and that the government has to convey its intention to crack down on crimes against women to its officials and the police.

"Enacting strong laws are simply a first step, but it needs the government to focus urgently on implementation if it is serious about protecting children and other victims of sexual abuse," Human Rights Watch's Ganguly said.

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allie wrote:
Just a horrible, horrible country
on April 21,2013 | 07:41AM
anakemo wrote:
on April 21,2013 | 08:34AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Why would a man do such a terrible thing?
on April 21,2013 | 08:50AM
Anonymous wrote:
Because he is completely and utterly lost and so immersed in his crazy thoughts that he cannot hear or tap into his common sense or intelligence, he has lost all sense of what is right and wrong, and has become a monster.
on April 21,2013 | 09:10AM
allie wrote:
India is a wretchedly bad country with terrible values and a horrid "religion."
on April 21,2013 | 09:15AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Allie, stf u. Don't impart the idiocy of one person on an entire country. This guy did a heinous thing, but it doesn't make all Indians bad. Just get out of here, no one cares what you think.
on April 21,2013 | 03:42PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
wouldn't be surprised if you get a reply from one of his alternate screen names.
on April 21,2013 | 05:52PM
Skyler wrote:
My reply got modded. :-(
on April 21,2013 | 08:27PM
Skyler wrote:
Nothing worse than the resident SA troll 'allie' going all 'holy' on us... geez, get a life.
on April 21,2013 | 04:05PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
ALL-LIE India though a developing country is getting to be as bad as North Dakota. There is an ongoing Federal Investigation that has since spread to all Reservations in Northern North Dakota Involving such child rapes and coverups. http://tinyurl.com/d3llqz9
on April 21,2013 | 05:48PM
Anonymous wrote:
That's interesting that the Prime Minister of India said that; "A day earlier, Singh had urged Indian society "to look within and work to root out the evil of rape and other such crimes from our midst." If each of us looked within and did that work there would be a lot less crimes, fighting and even misunderstandings. I've heard before that change comes from within and I believe that to be true. But I feel that the laws obviously also need to be tighter and there's no excuse for inaction from law enforcers.
on April 21,2013 | 09:07AM
Maili2 wrote:
I agree Anonymous, there should be change from inside and outside, both with ourselves and the law enforcers, for real effective change I think it has to come from both.
on April 21,2013 | 09:15AM
ceria wrote:
Which country is it if you steal anything they cut of your hand? Get my drift?
on April 21,2013 | 12:25PM
Skyler wrote:
Yeah. And makes sense, especially if they didn't apply a tourniquet afterwards.
on April 21,2013 | 03:58PM
8082827859 wrote:
on April 21,2013 | 08:10PM
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