Rape of girl triggers violent protests

Devesh K. Pandey
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Angry over the rape of a seven-year-old girl inside a municipal school, locals went on the rampage at Mangolpuri here on Friday damaging buses and vandalising hospital property. A dozen people had been arrested on charges of rioting.

On Thursday, when the victim, a Class II student, went to collect her midday meal, she was taken to a vacant classroom on the first floor of the school and raped. The victim’s father alleged that the culprit tied his daughter’s hands and stuffed cloth into the mouth before raping her.

When the victim returned home in the afternoon, her parents noticed injuries. They took her to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, where doctors confirmed that she was raped. Subsequently, the police were alerted.

“We received information at 9.26 a.m. on Friday and a case was registered under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Representatives of a non-government organisation and the Rape Crisis Intervention Centre were involved in providing counselling to the victim according to the standard operating procedure,” said a senior police officer.

Even as the police were planning to question the school teachers and staff, angry residents started gathering outside the hospital. Rumours that the victim had succumbed to her injuries triggered violence. An angry group pelted stones at passing vehicles. The group then entered the hospital premises and targeted a canteen and the hospital staff quarters.

Policemen in riot gears resorted to lathi charge and fired tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters who blocked the road outside the hospital. “Anti-social elements smashed the windscreens and windowpanes of three DTC buses,” said the officer.

The mob also targeted police vehicles and a police post, injuring three personnel.

Additional forces were called in to control the protesters. However, just when normality was returning, locals in small groups reappeared in the evening and indulged in stone-throwing. They placed burning tyres on the middle of the road.

The police are questioning the school staff to identify the culprit.

Additional Commissioner (Education) Deepak Hastir said the North Delhi Municipal Corporation had extended all possible help to the police in the investigation. “If anyone from the school is found guilty, he would be dealt with strictly,” he added.

The Municipal Commissioner had appointed a four-member committee to inquire into the incident and submit a report.



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