A six-year-old child was sexually assaulted and left bleeding allegedly by her 26-year-old neighbour in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district on Sunday evening, the police said. The child was attacked when her mother had gone out to buy vegetables and she was alone at home.
The accused was arrested today and the district police chief said they would expedite the investigation and the trial to ensure he is brought to justice at the earliest.
The child's medical condition is stable and she is out of danger, senior police officer S Arifullah said.
The girl was rushed to a hospital by her maternal grandmother, who came home to find her bleeding heavily, and in a state of shock. "The child was brought here in a state of shock at around 10 pm; she was bleeding. We gave her emergency medical care and informed the police," the local hospital in-charge said.
"We have collected the forensic samples, including blood and semen on the clothes, and are sending them to a forensic lab in Vijayawada. The statements of the child, her family and the examining doctor have also been recorded," Mr Arifullah told NDTV.
According to the police, the accused man allegedly dragged the child to a bathroom, where he forced himself on her.
He used to work as a carpenter in neighbouring Karnataka's Bengaluru, but had returned to his hometown in Chittoor, Palamner, which is 575 km south of Hyderabad, after the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
"The accused man has been charged under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act for rape. We have also used sections of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against him as the child was from a marginalised community. Chargesheet will be filed within a week, and the case will be tried in a fast-track court," district police chief Senthil Kumar told NDTV.
Mr Kumar added that even though amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code as sought by Andhra Pradesh to bring in the new Disha law have not been approved yet by the President, the state police was "working in spirit of the new law".
According to the Disha bill, passed by the Andhra Pradesh government in December last year, chargesheet in rape cases have to be filed within a week's time, after which the case trial has to be completed within 14 days in a fastrack court. It provides for awarding death sentence for offences of rape and gang-rape.
The bill was introduced after the rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad.