A 20-year-old ragpicker has been arrested for allegedly raping a 13-year-old mentally challenged girl and dumping her near a railway track in south-east Delhi’s Pul Prahladpur area. The girl was abducted by the accused while she had gone to fetch drinking water with her aunt, said police. The victim, an orphan, lived with her maternal aunt and her husband, said police.
In the early hours of May 18, the girl was found lying in a pool of blood by local residents, who rushed her to the hospital. She has already undergone two surgeries and is in a stable condition.
As she waited for more information about her niece’s condition, her tearful aunt said she could not believe the condition the girl was in.
“Her clothes were torn… she was bleeding and crying. How could someone have done this to such a child,” she said.
The victim’s aunt said she told everybody she met at the hospital — Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress president Sonia Gandhi — that the accused should be punished.
“My niece cannot communicate properly… she could not even understand what was happening to her. Imagine how horrible a person, who could do this to her, must be,” she said.
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She added that she had always treated the 13-year-old like her own daughter. “She is in so much pain. Doctors are saying she may never walk properly again… I do not know how we will survive this,” she said.
The accused has been identified as Vivek Kumar, 20, a local rag-picker. Police have claimed that during questioning, he confessed to the crime.
The incident took place on May 17, when the girl had gone to fetch drinking water with her aunt and cousin. “We were waiting to fill up our jars. Suddenly, we realised she was not there. We looked for her everywhere,” said her cousin.
The girl’s uncle said, “I informed police about the matter. We searched for her through the night… next morning, we made an announcement with a loudspeaker, asking if anybody knew about her whereabouts.”
In the evening, the girl’s family members got a call from Pul Prahladpur police, who told them she had been found unconscious near a railway track.
He said the girl’s parents had died two years ago. “After that, she started living with her grandmother, who died in October last year. Since then, she has been living with us, as there is no one else who can take care of her,” he added.
The girl had some “mental problems”, said her uncle, adding that they could not take her to a specialist as they couldn’t afford it. “She is not well. She understands things but she cannot talk like us,” he said.
Kejriwal, Sonia meet victim at hospital
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi were among the slew of leaders who, Thursday, met the 13-year-old rape victim undergoing treatment in AIIMS.
While Gandhi met the victim Thursday afternoon, Kejriwal visited AIIMS earlier in the day. The chief minister assured the family of full support from the Delhi government and also raised the issue of statehood for Delhi to curb such incidents which “occurred repeatedly”. “Every incident reminds us that somehow law and order should be under democratic control so that law enforcement agencies and public can work together,” said Kejriwal. He added that he had sought time with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss how such incidents could be stopped by working together in the existing system.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and former chairperson of DCW Barkha Shukla Singh also visited the girl Thursday.