India rape
A nine-year-old girl was raped in New Delhi where the rape and murder of a student sparked massive protests last year Reuters

A nine-year-old Indian child is fighting for her life at a New Delhi hospital after she was brutally raped.

The girl was playing with two friends outside her house in the Indian capital when a man approached and offered her sweets, then lured her to a secluded area.

Police have arrested a 25-year-old suspect identified as Gopi Nisha Malha.

"The accused first lured the victim with chocolates and then raped her," a senior police official was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The girl was found in a nearby area by her mother two hours after she was snatched, The Hindu newspaper reported.

She was rushed to the local Bara Hindu Rao Hospital where she arrived in critical conditions and underwent surgery.

"The girl is battling for her life," the police official said.

Malha is reportedly a relative of the landlord of the house where the girl's family lives.

Violence against women in India has been the focus of international attention since the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi in December 2012.

The incident sparked massive protests. Since her death, the government has enacted a new law that increases the minimum prison term for rape from seven to 10 years, up to a maximum of 20 years.

Recent government figures showed that the number of rape cases in Delhi has almost doubled from 727 to 1,300 in 2013 on the previous year.

A 51-year-old Danish tourist was allegedly gang-raped by eight men in the Indian capital last month.