An Indian teenager attempted suicide after allegedly being abducted and raped by eight men in the capital city of New Delhi. The young girl's family claims local police officials initially refused to lodge their complaint. The 13-year-old girl is in intensive care in an east Delhi hospital and is believed to be in a critical state.
According to local television channel NDTV, the kidnapping occurred on 15 March, outside the child's residence. The girl was reportedly held captive for nine days on the outskirts of the city, during which time all eight men raped her. A 12-year-old brother was also kidnapped but he was released within 24 hours. It is believed that at least four of the accused were known to the victim.
Police are believed to have arrested three men - identified as Deepak (21), Ranjeet (20) and Sohan Lal (24). Additionally, medical examination of the girl is believed to have confirmed rape.
The rape victim (Indian law prohibits the naming of victims) was reportedly upset after graphic coverage of a similar and more recent incident, also in Delhi, in which a five-year-old child was brutally and sexually assaulted by a daily wage labourer; medical examinations revealed parts of a bottle and a candle inside the child's body.
The New Delhi police force is coming under increasing pressure, following its perceived inactivity after a series of violent rapes and assaults on women in the country's capital. The furore began with the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student in December, and a series of such crimes (including acid attacks) has forced the ruling Congress government into a corner.
Indian Prime Minister Manmoham Singh has promised action, as have several leading politicians. A new Anti-Rape law was seen as a promising start, but the number of reported sexual crimes has continued to grow, leaving many Indian women concerned for their safety.
Nor does it help that the police force in the country - who, as the first point of contact for the victim, should be sympathetic - display shocking levels of callousness. The report of the 13-year-old rape victim being ignored comes only a day after other members of the Delhi police force reportedly offered £24 to the family of the five-year-old girl not to file a criminal complaint.
Meanwhile, passionate road-side protests continue for a second straight day in Delhi. India Today reports that protesters have gathered at the entrance to the Delhi Police Headquarters and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where the five-year-old girl is being treated. In addition, protesters have also called for the sacking of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar and the local policemen who failed to register the two complaints of rape.
The statistics make poor reading for the police force. According to IBN India, over 600 rape cases were reported in the capital in 2012. In only one case was there a conviction. Of the rest, a majority were still in trial and some were even pending due to incomplete investigations.