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Second suspect arrested in India gang rape of five-year-old girl

Protests continue as case filed against second man for attack on girl, five

  • Indian police officers detain a protestor during a protest outside the Parliament in New Delhi, India, MondaImage Credit: AP
  • Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) activists shout slogans after being detained following a protest against the rapImage Credit: AFP
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New Delhi/Patna: Police arrested a second man over the kidnap and rape of a five-year-old girl, as officers faced further protests and a hail of accusations that they botched their handling of the case.

“We have filed a case of gang-rape against the two. The second acccused in the case has admitted to the crime,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Prabhakar told IANS.

The two accused have been booked under 376-D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to gang-rape, Prabhakar said.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said they have arrested the second accused, identified as Pradeep Ram, 19, from Bihar. He is in judicial custody till May 4.

Police had earlier arrested Manoj Kumar, 22, on April 20 from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. He was hiding in his in-law’s house.

The girl is undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and is said to be in a stable condition.

Pradeep Ram was hiding in his uncle’s house in Badhaiya area, Bihar Director General of Police Abhayanand said in Patna.

“Pradeep was presented in the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Lakhisarai and the court granted a three-day transit remand (of Pradeep) to the Delhi Police,” Lakhisarai Superintendent of Police Rajeev Mishra said.

Delhi Police officers said the two accused had met during a train journey.

“Manoj said he met Pradeep on a train. The two were casual labourers who would often meet for a drink,” a police official told IANS.

Police said Manoj had admitted that on the day of the incident the two had been drinking, and struck up the idea of finding a girl. When they came out of their room, they saw the five-year-old playing outside. Manoj said he lured the girl with chocolate, but blamed Pradeep for the rape.

Meanwhile, protests against the rape continued Monday with several women groups, student organisations as well as political parties coming together on the same platform and demanding strict measures to ensure women’s safety.

While Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters held protests outside Delhi Police headquarters and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where the traumatised small girl is hospitalised, members of the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepared to march towards parliament seeking amendments to the anti-rape law.

Several women’s groups and student organisations were jointly holding a protest at Jantar Mantar.

Holding banners and placards, the protesters demanded the resignation of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. They also criticised Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

“The police chief should resign as the repeated rapes in the Delhi prove that he is not fit for the job. We’ve had enough. Feeling secure and safe is our right and we will have it,” Rashpal Kaur, Delhi state secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), told IANS.