Those who did not help a 15-year-old girl in Ujjain - who had been raped and left half-naked and bleeding, and went door-to-door begging for help - may be charged under child sex abuse laws, a senior Madhya Pradesh police officer told NDTV on Friday. They may face action under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for 'failing to report or register the commission' of a crime.
Jayant Singh Rathore, an Additional Superintendent of Police in Ujjain, said that at least one such individual had been identified - an auto rickshaw driver who "knowingly did not inform the police".
"Action has been taken against him. CCTV footage will be studied. If more people are found, and it is clear they did not help (the girl) or did not inform the police, we will take legal action," he said.
The auto-rickshaw driver has been identified as Rakesh Malviya. Police said he ferried the young girl in his vehicle - they found blood stains on the seat - but did not tell the police of her condition.
The question now is - will others who similarly refused to help her also face police action? Will they act against the people who saw and ignored a young girl bleeding and in clear distress?
"Some Gave Her Rs 50, Some Rs 100": Cop's Shocker
NDTV earlier reported on CCTV footage of a man shooing the bleeding girl away; the heart-breaking clip showed him leaning nonchalantly against his front door and refusing to help.
Police review of that footage showed others had been equally heartless, but Ujjain top cop Sachin Sharma disagreed with the statement that no one helped the girl.
"We traced the video and questioned people in the area. When we found her, she had Rs 120 people from the locality gave her... people may have had reservations, but financially they tried."
READ | "People Gave ₹ 50-100": Cop On How Residents 'Helped' Teen Rape Survivor
Mr Sharma also told NDTV, "She crossed a toll booth on the way. The staff there gave her money and some clothes. At least seven-eight people tried to help."
None of those, however, took her in off the streets and called the police. Not till she came upon a priest who protected her and alerted the authorities.
READ | "Gave Her Clothes, Called Cops": Ujjain Priest Who Helped Teen Rape Survivor
Good Samaritans In Police Too
Fortunately for the young girl, there were still some people willing to help. Apart from the priest, two policemen donated blood and another said he wants to sponsor her education and healthcare.
READ | Cop Offers To Sponsor Education Of Ujjain Rape Survivor
"We were on duty for the President's visit... we came forward and reached the hospital to donate blood," Jaipal Goyal, one of the policemen, said.
Accused's Father Wants Death Penalty
Meanwhile, the father of the main accused - Bharat Soni - has said his son must be punished and asked "what other punishment would there be other than death?" "This is very wrong. He should be punished... I would have killed him," Raja Soni told NDTV.
The main accused is also an auto-rickshaw driver and was caught after an extensive investigation that included scanning through footage from nearly 700 CCTV feeds. "30-35 people were engaged. No one slept for three-four days," Ajay Verma, a senior police officer, told NDTV.
READ | Man Arrested For Teen's Rape Near Ujjain, Tried To Escape From Custody
Once caught, he was taken to where he allegedly raped the girl. There, however, he tried to escape but was run down by two police officers. All three men suffered injuries in the fight that followed.
"Today, we reached the spot to... recover the clothes worn by the girl. Sensing an opportunity, Bharat Soni tried to escape. Police personnel chased and caught him. During this, he fell on a cemented road, injuring his arms and legs," another police officer told reporters.
"Daughter Of Madhya Pradesh"
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan - who faces an Assembly election in November - said his government will ensure the accused is severely punished.
READ | "He Has No Place In Society": Shivraj Chouhan On Ujjain Teen Rape Accused
"The victim is the daughter of Madhya Pradesh. We will take care of her in every way. She is my daughter, as well as the state's daughter and we will ensure that the accused gets stringent punishment," he declared.
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