New Delhi: A five-year-old who was kept hostage, mutilated and raped by her neighbour, is fighting for her life at Delhi's famous AIIMS hospital.
The barbarous attack on her - she was violated with pieces of a candle and a bottle - has outraged the city. Through Friday, protestors shouted slogans against politicians and the police at the hospital where she was being treated in East Delhi till she was moved to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Doctors at AIIMS say she is now conscious, but still in critical condition.
The man who attacked her is missing. Doctors who treated the child said her injuries show he tried to strangle her.
"This is the first time that I have seen such barbarism with a five-year-old," said RK Bansal, medical superintendent of Swami Dayanand Hospital.
She was kidnapped on Monday while she was playing outside her home, and was then kept captive in the basement of the same building where she lived by a man who rented a room there about a week ago. On Wednesday evening, it was not the police but neighbours who found her after they heard her cries.
Offering a weak defense, the police said that it searched public parks in the neighbourhood, but did not think to search the many rooms in the building where the family lived.
Her father says the police offered him Rs. 2000 "to keep quiet". He said they advised him, "Thank God that she has been found alive." The Delhi Police has suspended two officers for allegedly behaving inappropriately with the child's parents. (Read)
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that he was "deeply disturbed" by the "shameful incident". (Read)
Since December, when the fatal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus stunned and incensed the country, the city's police and government have vowed that no effort will be spared to protect women. But a slew of attacks, many of them against young girls, prove that despite the introduction of tougher anti-rape laws and pledges of better policing, little has changed for a city titled "the rape capital" of India.