In the middle of the night, the three-year-old girl wakes up and starts screaming. When her mother tries to calm her down, she scratches and claws at her. The child doesn’t talk much and has no appetite. Five days ago, the girl was raped and burnt with cigarettes, allegedly by her uncle, in southeast Delhi’s Govindpuri.
Her parents said she is in a state of shock. “Earlier, she was very talkative. Now, she keeps to herself and doesn’t talk much. She wakes up in the middle of the night… when I try to pacify her, she tries to push me away… She has changed and it will take time for her to recover,” said the victim’s mother.
On August 28, the girl’s uncle, who lives in the same area, had visited their house. He had said he wanted to take the child for a walk, said the girl’s mother. Her father, a labourer, was away at work. “I didn’t want her to go as she had fever, but somehow he managed to convince me and took her away,” said the girl’s mother.
When neither of them returned after a few hours, she called up her brother-in-law. “He said he was going to take my daughter to the temple and she will stay over at his house… I thought it was okay because he is family,” said her mother.
The next morning, when she went to the residence of the accused to bring her daughter back, he told her that the child was sleeping and should not be disturbed. “My son went to his house in the evening, but again he refused to send her back. When my husband came back from work, I told him our daughter was still there. My husband rushed to his house to get her,” said the girl’s mother.
While bringing his daughter back home, he realised that she had injury marks on her face. “There were burn marks on her stomach and hands… I rushed her to the hospital,” said the father. The doctors at the hospital told him that his daughter had been raped.
The accused, arrested by police Tuesday, was arrested five years ago on charges of harassing a girl, said Additional DCP (southeast) Rajeev Ranjan. “A case of rape was registered after we received a call from the hospital about the three-year-old being sexually assaulted. The accused had also hit her and burnt her with cigarettes,” he said.