The police arrested Mohammed Jasim, 33, from Kozhikode on Thursday on the charge of sexually assaulting a three-year-old child at Tirur two days ago.

He was arrested on the basis of information gathered from two dozen suspects questioned in connection with the incident.

Jasim, from Parappanangadi in the district, reportedly confessed to have committed the crime. The police said he took away the child who was asleep by beside her mother on the veranda of a shop at Tirur on Monday. He sexually assaulted the child before abandoning her on the premises of a Mahila Mandiram.

The child had suffered multiple injuries. The child was first taken to the District Hospital at Tirur and later to the Medical College Hospital (MCH), Kozhikode, where she underwent a surgery. Doctors said the condition of the child had improved slightly. The police said Jasim was involved in several other crimes, including theft and sexual abuse.

He had escaped to Kozhikode after assaulting the child. The police said his connection with a woman had helped them zero in on him.

A large number of people crowded outside the police station complex at Tirur on Thursday evening, where the accused was to be brought.

Sensing the volatility of the situation, the police took him to Kottakkal, where he gave the statement before a police team led by District Superintendent K. Sethuraman. The crowds at Tirur awaiting the arrival of the accused began to swell after sunset as the police deliberately held him at Kottakkal.

A strong police force accompanied the vehicle carrying the accused as the police feared a mob attack on him. Meanwhile, the child continued to be in the intensive care unit of the MCH.

Doctors who examined the child said she continued to experience severe pain. Very few visitors were allowed and the child appeared frightened on seeing people. The child’s mother is four-months pregnant and appeared oblivious of the gravity of the crime inflicted on her child.