04/22/2013, 00.00
INDIA
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Rape of 5-year-old girl is India's shame, Catholic doctor says

by Nirmala Carvalho
The little girl was abused and tortured for two days. Two suspects have been arrested for sexual assault. For member of the Pontifical Academy of Life, violence is done against "Indian girls and women in insidious as well as blatant ways, in every sphere of their life," through female feticide, dowry murders and discrimination.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "The unspeakable brutality unleashed on this little child is India's shame," said Pascoal Carvalho, a Catholic physician and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He is unequivocal about the case of a the girl raped for two days by two neighbours and left for dead on 17 April.

Police today arrested the second suspect, a man called Pradeep, in the state of Bihar where he had fled after the first accused, Manoj Kumar, who was detained on Saturday in another village also in Bihar, told police during interrogation that one of his friends was involved in the crime. The two men are between 25 and 30.

The girl is still hospitalised at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, where doctors were able to stabilise her condition.

On 15 April, the two accused, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, grabbed the little girl, the daughter of neighbours. For two days, they raped and tortured her, and tried to strangle her to prevent her from talking.

After finding their daughter unconscious on 17 April, the parents filed a complaint with the local police station, where duty officers refused their request, telling them to take her to a doctor or treat her at home. Two days later, on 19 April, the parents took her to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Sources in the health care facility said that the child had wounds to the cheeks, signs of strangulation around the neck and ongoing infections caused by objects used to violate her.

"Police callousness is most shameful," Dr Carvalho said. Violence is done against "Indian girls and women in insidious as well as blatant ways, in every sphere of their life."

"The systematic and escalating elimination of women in India through female foeticide, female infanticide, dowry murders, sexual assault, high mortality rates of girls under five due to deliberate neglect, and the highest maternal mortality rate in the world are contributing factors to the low status of women in India, resulting in lack of respect and escalating violence, discrimination, brutalisation and annihilation."

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