A 40-year-old man was accused of raping his 3-year-old neighbor in New Delhi on Sunday, the sixth anniversary of a brutal gang rape that became a worldwide symbol of the dangers faced by women and girls.
Locals found the victim lying face down and unconscious near a school in Bindapur, The Times of India reported. The suspect, a security guard who lived on the ground floor of the victim’s house, allegedly lured the child out of her home with candy to an abandoned house down the road while her parents were not home. The man reportedly raped the 3-year-old girl in the abandoned house and left her unconscious on the side of the road.
The child was rushed to the hospital with “severe injuries” and will undergo surgery, The Times of India reported.
The incident occurred on six years to the day after the infamous gang rape of a 23-year-old woman named Jyoti Singh Pandey in New Delhi. Pandey was attacked by six men on a local bus and later died from her injuries. The heinous rape and murder gained international attention and she was dubbed “Nirbhaya,” which means “fearless.”
Swati Maliwa, the head of the Delhi Commission for Women, said Sunday that the rape of a 3-year-old showed authorities have done too little to prevent such attacks in the six years since Pandey’s death.
“Nothing has changed,” Maliwa wrote. “Until swiftness & certainty of strong punishment is ensured, nothing will change!”
There are conflicting reports of the 3-year-old victim’s condition. Delhi Police tweeted on Sunday that the child is in “stable” condition. But Maliwa refuted those claims.
“The condition of the girl is not stable,” Maliwa wrote. “I am sitting outside the Operation Theater and have just spoken to the doctors. The child is battling for her life inside the OT.”
Maliwa added that the child was “bleeding profusely” and is ”[very] critical.”
Delhi Police arrested the suspect on offenses under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, and said there will be an “expeditious investigation.” The accused was treated for injuries before his arrest because locals attacked him for his alleged crime, The Times of India reported.
Over the past few years, India has received ongoing media attention for its incidents of brutal rape and gender-based violence. India topped the list as the most dangerous country for women in a June survey published by Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In January, an 8-month-old baby was raped by her 28-year-old cousin in New Delhi. In April, the country was in an uproar after an 8-year-old girl was gang raped and murdered by eight men in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state. Over the summer, a young girl with a hearing disability was repeatedly gang-raped by 22 men in Chennai over the course of seven months.