A seven-year-old was kidnapped from outside her school, gang-raped and left to die in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur. At an Indore hospital, about 200 km from Mandsaur, where the girl is admitted, BJP leaders met the family and offered all possible help. However, they expected to be "thanked" for the visit.
The meeting with Sudhir Gupta Mandsaur-Neemuch BJP legislator and Sudarshan Gupta, Indore lawmaker, who is also BJP's state unit vice president, was filmed on a mobile phone. In the video, accessed by NDTV, Sudarshan Gupta is heard telling the couple to thank the Mandsaur legislator. "Manniye saansad ji aaye hain aap se milne, dhanyawaad boliye (The legislator has come to see you, say thank you)," he said smilingly.
The parents did as they were directed.
As soon as the video reached the opposition, Congress's Mayank Aggarwal asked Mr Gupta, "Thanks for what?"
"The BJP should apologise by touching the couple's feet for failing to protect their daughter. They should be ashamed of failing to provide safety in the state," Mr Aggarwal said.
The BJP's Rahul Kothari, however, advised that it's important to understand the context, but agreed it is better to avoid saying such things.
The girl was found with her throat slit, deep cuts on face and injuries all over her body. She is in trauma and can barely talk. Through her gestures, she had indicated to her mother about "two uncles", a police officer said.
While one of the accused, identified as Irfan Khan, was arrested on Wednesday, the police arrested the second "uncle" today. "We have arrested Irfan's friend Asif based on initial investigation. He is a construction worker," the officer added.
The police have registered a case against the duo under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
In the CCTV footage, the girl was seen following Irfan. The police suspect he lied to her about an emergency in her family. His blood-stained clothes have been found, said Manoj Singh, Mandsaur Superintendent of Police.
The class 2 student had gone missing on Tuesday. The morning after, their search took them to a forest around 700 metres from the school. She was found unconscious. Her school bag, water bottle and lunchbox were lying nearby. The police also found an empty beer bottle at the spot.
The girl was rushed to a hospital in Mandsaur, about 350 km from Bhopal, and from there sent to Indore for further treatment. Her medical report confirmed rape and the use of sharp-edged weapons. Doctors said she lost a lot of blood.
After the news spread in the area, thousands took to the streets in spontaneous protests. The police posted hundreds of personnel to prevent any escalation. Most of the markets, schools and colleges in the area remained close. The neighbouring areas also witnessed the impact of the protest. The protesters demanded that the accused Irfan Khan be handed over to them.
As the crowd swelled, the police didn't risk taking him to court today. The judge came to the police control room and sent Irfan to custody till July 2.
Several Muslim organisations have demanded capital punishment for the accused and announced he can't be buried in any graveyard in the area. The Mandsaur bar association has also refused to defend Irfan in the court.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed anger and demanded death penalty for the accused. He has assured the family that the charge-sheet will be filed in within 20 days and the case will be heard in a fast track court to ensure speedy justice.
Two months ago, a 23-day trial in the state had ended in a death sentence for a man who had raped and killed a four-month-old girl in Indore.