Capital cries fail to save Zaheerabad victim

Zaheerabad rape victim commits suicide even as doctors declare Delhi kid stable; accused remanded in judicial custody in Delhi, police launch hunt for second accused; agitators target PM, Sonia residences seeking Delhi police chief’s sack

Published: 22nd April 2013 08:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2013 11:09 AM   |  A+A-

Two days after the five-year-old rape victim was admitted to AIIMS hospital, she started showing signs of improvement on Sunday, but tragedy struck the family of the teenager who was assaulted at Zaheerabad on Friday night as she ended her life by jumping into a well.

In a fresh incident in Tondamnadu village of Srikalahasti mandal in Chittoor district, a father-son duo allegedly raped an eight-year-old daughter of their neighbour on Sunday.

In the national capital, meanwhile, angry protesters kept the Delhi police on toes as they tried to hold agitations in different parts, including outside the high security residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. As reports of more rapes started coming in the protesters demanded the removal of Delhi police chief.

The 18-year-old girl from Kohire was raped by 29-year old K Sekhar of Shantinagar in Zaheerabad town on Friday night after befriending her. She left her home after a tiff with her mother and reached Zaheerabad and was waiting on the road when Sekhar accosted her. The victim was discharged from the Zaheerabad government hospital on Sunday afternoon. She was in a depressed mood after reaching home and had gone out on the pretext of answering a nature’s call. However, when she did not return for a long time, her family members went in search of her and found her body in the well. The incident triggered angry protests from the villagers and also activists of various political parties who demanded action against the offender and also the hospital for discharging the girl without ensuring that she was in a proper physical and mental condition. They demanded `15 lakh ex gratia to the victim’s family.

In Delhi, doctors’ announcement on the medical condition of the victim brought collective relief to the country agitated by the gruesome incident. “She is showing gradual recovery and has slept well in the night. At present her vital parameters are stable. She is conscious alert and talking to parents, doctors and nurses. She is having mild fever which is showing improvement. As such there is no danger to her life. The child is responding well to the antibiotics,” Dr DK Sharma, medical superintendent of AIIMS, told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Manoj Kumar, arrested in the rape case from Bihar on Saturday, was produced before a magistrate who remanded him in 14 days judicial custody.

 Though police initially remained non-committal on the involvement of a second person in the case, by evening a massive manhunt was launched to arrest him, sources said.

As the protests entered the second day and spilled over to various parts of the capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too joined the issue saying that “gruesome assault on a little girl a few days back reminds us once again of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society.”

As the Delhi Police even shut down India Gate by clamping section 144 to stop people from collecting there, the Prime Minister took a considerate view. “The agitations that have followed the two incidents also point to the need for showing concern and sensitivity while dealing with the public anxiety that such incidents generate,” Singh said during a conference on Civil Services Day in the capital. He went on to say a widespread national movement is needed to ensure protection of women and children.

While the BJP Mahila Morcha activists protested outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence, 10 Janpath, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Admi Party activists broke into protests outside 7 Race Course Road, the PM’s residence, as they demanded that Delhi Police commission Neeraj Kumar be removed immediately.

The protesters braved searing heat and kept continuous vigil outside AIIMS and the Delhi Police headquarters. Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University tried to march toward India Gate but were stopped by posse of police forces deployed there.

Meanwhile, various political parties attacked the government over the second gruesome rape case in five months and also called for stringent punishment to the guilty.

“The Prime Minister should be one who should be responsible and sensitive towards the people, not someone who can do nothing for the people. Why are these rape cases increasing? Because there is a government that has lost all sensitivity towards its people,” BJP president Rajnath Singh said.

Backing BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s demand for death penalty to child rapists, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “We are willing to discuss and consider this because what happened in this Delhi rape case is gruesome. There is something seriously wrong in the society and there is no fear of the law.”


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