Indian rape victim (5) responds to treatment

Doctor says girl is responding well to treatment and her condition is stable.

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 06:00

A doctor says the condition of a five-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 more than two days has improved.

The doctor, DK Sharma, said the girl was responding well to treatment and that her condition was stable.

India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has called for a collective effort to protect women in the country as protests continued in Delhi after the rape of the girl last week.

The victim, left for dead after being imprisoned and starved for two days in an apartment in the Indian capital, was said to be improving by doctors. The girl had sustained serious internal injuries during a series of assaults.

The attack revived memories of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in the capital in December. The incident triggered worldwide outrage and calls for legal and policing reforms. It also prompted a debate within India on the causes of the rising rate of sexual assault in the emerging economic power.

Police were heavily criticised after the December incident and have also been the focus of protesters’ anger this time. In the latest case, officers allegedly initially refused to investigate after the girl, from a working-class family, disappeared while playing outside her home.

She was eventually found by neighbours. When the case was picked up by the local media, the parents were offered 2,000 rupees to drop the case, relatives of the victim have said. A labourer who had been staying nearby has been arrested for attack.

“The gruesome assault on a little child a few days back reminds us of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society,” the prime minister said.

A series of laws have been passed stiffening penalties for sexual assault and making sexual harassment a crime. However “eve-teasing” – as the physical or verbal molestation of women in public places is euphemistically known – is endemic. – (Guardian and agencies )