Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in New Delhi today, pressing their demand that the city’s top police official step down after the rape of a five-year-old girl stoked new anger about women’s safety.
Demonstrators tried to pull down barriers outside a police station in central Delhi as they demanded Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar’s resignation. More protesters gathered outside the hospital where the girl was taken for treatment after the rape last week.
“Delhi is a hotbed of anger because of the horrific way it treats its women,” said Sunny Kumar, 24, a university student holding a sign that said “Enough is Enough” outside the police station. ‘There is a feeling among some men in Delhi that they can get away with raping women.’’
India’s parliament, which had been set to return from a recess, was adjourned this morning as opposition lawmakers protested at the government’s failure to protect women. The kidnapping and rape of the girl drew new attention to the scale of sexual crimes in the world’s largest democracy, four months after the gang rape -- and subsequent death -- of a 23-year-old student spurred calls for tougher sentences for rapists.
Two men have been arrested in the rape of the five year old. Police say the girl was lured into an apartment where she was kept for 40 hours.
The girl’s parents told local TV channels that officers initially ignored their complaints and tried to bribe them to keep quiet.
Kumar said he would not resign today in a televised press conference because it will not improve the situation. Kumar said he is investigating the parents’ complaints and will “make an example” of any police officers who did not respond.
Sexual abuse of minors is widespread in homes, schools and residential care facilities in India and the existing child protection programs fail the most vulnerable, Human Rights Watch said in February.
More than 7,200 children, including infants, are raped every year, while many more cases go unreported, the New York- based advocacy group said in its report.
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