New Delhi: A seven-year-old girl was raped by an unidentified man inside a Delhi municipal school where she is studying, triggering violent protests on Friday by locals who were cane-charged by police.
The Class II student was sexually assaulted inside the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run primary school in Mongolpuri L Block of north-west Delhi Thursday and the incident came to light at around 9 AM today when her parents informed police about it.
The girl could not identify the offender and no one has been arrested so far though two male teachers and a guard of the school were questioned, police said.
The shocking incident came two-and-half months after the gory rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 last year which triggered nationwide protests.
Soon after the matter was reported to police, the girl was taken to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where a medical examination confirmed rape. The girl was later discharged from hospital, police said.
"The victim was raped by a man inside the school campus yesterday. Her parents approached us this morning and a case has been registered. The victim could not tell us anything about the attacker. She could not identify the offender.
"We are investigating the case. We have questioned the male staff, including two teachers and a guard," a senior police official said.
Enraged over the incident, locals, including a number of women, staged protests in the locality as well as near the hospital.
A section of the protesters later turned violent near the hospital and pelted stones at vehicles and broke police barricades. Some policemen and locals were injured in the incident.
As protests spread, the gates of the hospital were closed for some time.
The protesters alleged police were not actively pursuing the case and arresting the culprits.
At least three government-run buses, PCR vans and some private vehicles were damaged in the incident. Police have been deployed in large numbers to ensure no untoward situation in the locality.
Condemning the rape of the girl, NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said incidents like these are on the rise and unless tough punishment is incorporated, the mindset of such offenders will not change.
"This is a case of rape of a seven-year-old girl. I believe that tough action should be initiated...I will also send the matter for enquiry in two to three days," she said.
Reacting to the incident, North Delhi Municipal Corporation promised all possible help to the victim.
"We are looking into the matter and gathering more details. The information is sketchy at this point but if someone from the school is found guilty, we will take immediate action," Mahendra Nagpal, Leader of the House in NDMC, said.
Rekha Gupta, NDMC Education Committee Chairperson, said the child was picked up by her mother yesterday afternoon. "It was only today morning that the parents complained to the police about the incident that they said happened in the afternoon," she said.
"However, we immediately presented all the school staff before police for investigation. The child has not identified anyone from the school as of now...We have already told the family that we will support them not just in the investigation but also extend medical help to the child," Gupta said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described the incident as "inhuman" and "shameful".
"The incident is inhuman and shameful. It is a shocking incident. The municipal corporation must strengthen their existing security infrastructure in the schools," she said.
Dikshit said the city government has directed the civic body to "urgently" take stock of security situation in its primary schools in order to ensure a sense of confidence among the parents.
Education Minister Kiran Walia has also taken up the matter with mayor of the corporation Meera Agarwal.
Dikshit has directed Chief Secretary D M Spolia to contact the authorities concerned in the NDMC.
"Prima facie it appears that lack of security and supervision by NDMC might be the cause of the incident," said an official at the Chief Minister`s office.