Delhi

Toddler raped in south Delhi, neighbour held

Demanding justice: Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal protesting in front of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence in New Delhi on Tuesday.  

A year-and-a-half-old toddler is recuperating at a city hospital after being sexual assaulted allegedly by her 21-year-old neighbour in south Delhi’s Shahpur Jat. The accused had allegedly been entrusted by the child’s parents to look after her in their absence.

Once news of the incident broke, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal reached the hospital to check on the child. She demanded that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too meet the child to understand her ordeal.

Hospital authorities said the toddler was admitted with bruises and cuts but was currently stable and not under active treatment. She is, however, in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as per protocol in instances of sexual assault on those falling in her age bracket.

Initial investigation

Neighbour Santosh was arrested soon after the matter was reported to the local police on Monday afternoon.

The police said that initial investigation showed Santosh, who is employed in the housekeeping division of a city hotel, lived in the child’s neighbourhood and had often been asked by the parents to “take care” of her. The police were told that several other families also used to leave their children with the accused while they went for work.

“This time the parents suspected something was amiss and the toddler’s father ensured that one of his friends was on guard while the child was with Santosh. The friend said something was wrong with Santosh’s behaviour,” said a senior police officer.

Medical examination

“The child’s mother, who works as domestic help in the area, returned home on Monday to find the toddler bleeding from the private parts and crying incessantly due to pain,” the officer said, adding that her undergarments were bloodstained.

According to the police, the mother took the toddler to a hospital. The medical examination revealed that she had been subjected to sexual assault. The woman informed her husband, who reported it to the police.

The police quoted the parents alleging that their daughter had been “acting strangely” over the last 10 days, which added to their suspicions.

Other children

“Santosh has been arrested under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences [POCSO] Act. He is being questioned about his possible involvement in similar instances with the other children he looked after,” the officer added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Maliwal protested in front of Mr. Singh’s residence. The DCW chief has been demanding that perpetrators in cases of rapes of minors be awarded death sentence within six months to send out a strong message.

She was detained along with other members of the women’s panel and taken to Mandir Marg police station but later released.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:16:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/toddler-raped-neighbour-held/article20446859.ece

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