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Asia-pacific

Protests continue over Delhi child rape case, second suspect arrested

© AFP

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-22

Demonstrators once again took to the streets of Delhi on Monday to express their fury over the brutal rape and torture of a five-year-old girl, while police say they have arrested a second suspect in connection with the case.

Indian police on Monday arrested a second man in connection with the rape and torture of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi, a crime that has sparked fresh outrage and mass protests in a country where sexual violence against women is common.

After a weekend of demonstrations over the case, citizens in Dehli once again took to the streets on Monday, gathering outside the city’s police headquarters to vent their anger at the frequent violent sexual assaults faced by India’s female population as well as the way this latest incident has been handled by investigators.

According to police, the child was abducted on Monday last week and kept in captivity by two men in the basement of the building that she lived in with her family. She was discovered two days later by neighbours who heard her cries for help.

One man, a 22-year-old described by media reports as a tenant in the child's house, has already been arrested for the attack and is due to appear in a Delhi court this week.

The second suspect, in his early 20s, was arrested early on Monday at a relative’s house in the eastern state of Bihar on information received from New Delhi, local police chief Rajeev Mishra told Reuters.

“He was arrested about 1am,” Mishra said. ”Delhi police and local police made a combined effort to arrest him.”

The attack follows the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist on a New Delhi bus in December, who later died of her injuries.

That incident brought thousands to the streets in protest and provoked national debate about the rising number of vicious attacks on women, putting the issue firmly on the national political agenda a year before elections.

On Monday, protestors called for the city's top policeman to resign. The chief investigating officer in the case and a senior colleague who is alleged to have slapped a protestor on Friday have both already been suspended.

Delhi police have also opened an inquiry into allegations that the victim's family was offered 2,000 rupees (around $35) to keep quiet about the rape and told they should be grateful that she was alive.

"We have been protesting since December 16 but the Delhi police have not learned their lesson," said Sunil Singh, a student who took part in Monday's protest outside the hospital.

"It's shameful that the parents of this child were asked to keep quiet. I am worried what kind of future are we looking at," he told AFP.

After being rescued, the five-year-old victim of the attack was taken to hospital in a critical condition where she was treated for serious internal injuries sustained during a more than 40-hour ordeal.

Doctors said Monday that she was responding well to treatment and that her condition had stabilised.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-04-22

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