Five months after drawing flak for the brutal December 16 gangrape case,the Delhi Police was once again at the receiving end of public ire on Friday.
This time,after the family of a five-year-old rape victim alleged that police tried to bribe them to remain silent. The ignominy did not end there. As the day progressed,an Assistant Commissioner of Police was suspended after TV cameras caught him slapping a woman protester at the hospital where the child was admitted.
Speaking to Newsline,the childs father said,The police did not help look for my daughter who went missing on April 15. Later,when we rushed her to the police station,after we found her on April 17,they offered me Rs 2,000 the price for my silence.
The officers told me to stay quiet,and said I would not be able to face the stigma if word spread about my daughter being raped. They told me to avoid talking to the media and to be thankful that we found my daughter alive, he said.
We went to the police station on Thursday to request that additional sections of rape be added to our earlier FIR (kidnapping case). We were turned away when we asked for a copy of the fresh FIR. We asked for updates on the tenant who went missing from our building,but we were turned away. No police personnel came to the hospital, he said.
In the afternoon,as protests mounted in the hospital,ACP Bani Singh Ahlawat was captured by TV cameras slapping a woman protester.
The protester claimed that she was trying to enter the hospital to talk to Health Minister Dr A K Walia and MP Sandeep Dikshit who had come there to visit the child.
The woman attacked Walia when he and Dikshit entered the hospital. It was following this that the ACP slapped the woman twice,a police officer claimed.
Addressing a press conference,Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Prabhakar said,We have suspended the ACP for manhandling woman protesters. A vigilance inquiry has been ordered into the matter. We are probing the allegations made by family members of the child. The Station House Officer,Inspector Dharam Pal Singh,and the investigating officer,sub-inspector Mahavir Singh,have been suspended pending inquiry.
Asked why police did not conduct a search in the building,Prabhakar said,It was after neighbours heard the child wailing that she was discovered. I cannot comment further till I get the inquiry report.
By afternoon,Swami Dayanand hospitals emergency was chaotic,with protesters led by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members shouting slogans against police and the government. Protesters fought with hospital guards and police personnel,who tried to prevent them from entering the ICU. By evening,more protesters entered the compound and another 30 of them gathered outside the ICU.
Dr R K Bansal,medical superintendent of the hospital,said,The protesters disturbed the hospital activity through the day and tried to enter the ICU and emergency areas. Without the help of the police,we could not have managed the crowd.
Students from JNU, members of All India Students Association (AISA) and All India Progressive Womens Association (AIPWA) staged a peaceful protest outside AIIMS in the evening.
AIPWA general secretary Kavita Krishnan said womens groups and student bodies will protest on Saturday outside the police headquarters at 11 am.
Police have registered a case under Sections 366A (kidnapping),376A (rape),307 (attempt to murder),342 (illegal confinement) of the IPC and Sections 6 and 9 of the POSCO Act.
Prabhakar said,Two teams have been sent to apprehend the accused who has been identified and is being tracked.