In February this year, a five-year-old girl child lingering unattended outside her jhuggi here in the Capital was lured away by a man on a bicycle who promised her a delectable treat of ber juice. After raping her brutally, the culprit proceeded to kill her by physical assault, strangulation and burning her hair. He then pushed her into a canal where water ran 15 feet deep. She would have died had she not desperately clung to weeds growing on the canal banks. An alert passer-by, Sonu, rescued her and also caught 25-year-old Shri Bhagwan.

Handing out stiff punishment to Shri Bhagwan, a Sessions court here now has sentenced him to seven years in prison for kidnapping, at the completion of which a second term of life imprisonment will begin for the offence of raping a minor.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau has also directed the Delhi Government to pay Rs.1 lakh as compensation to the child to be used for her welfare and rehabilitation under the supervision of a Welfare Officer nominated by the State Department of Women & Child Development.

Detailing the trauma faced by the child as reflected in the medical record, the court said her private parts had been severely damaged which required surgical repair under anaesthesia. Bruises were also found present under the left eye of the child; cuts were found on both her lips and abrasions on the right side of chin and neck which also “proved the aggravated sexual assault”, according to the court.

“The convict has taken advantage of a helpless and defenceless child who could not even try to escape or express herself and was an easy and vulnerable prey. She must have undergone immense physical pain and agony when the offence was committed. In spite of the tender age of the child, the convict went on to commit the ghastly, abominable, inhuman and barbaric act of rape, violating the person of the child and giving a life-long trauma to her family. The medical record of the child is indicative of the intense physical pain and agony which the child must have undergone when the brutal act was committed on her frail body,” the court said.

In its order, the court noted that 98 per cent of sexual offences are being committed by persons known to the victims but many cases are going unreported. “If unreported cases were to be included, the figure would be much high but most of the cases are not reported by the victims because of the various reasons such as family pressure, behaviour of the police, the unreasonably long and unjust process and application of law and resulting consequences thereof,” said Ms. Lau.