Monday 23 April 2018

Policeman arrested for rape of seven-year-old girl in India

The suspect 'will be undergoing medical tests to confirm whether he was consuming alcohol'

Members of All India Students Association (AISA) shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside police headquarters in New Delhi, India, October 18, 2015. EUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
Members of All India Students Association (AISA) shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside police headquarters in New Delhi, India, October 18, 2015. EUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Rachel Roberts

An Indian policeman has been been arrested on suspicion of raping a seven-year-old girl, according to a senior officer.

Local media reported the little girl was found naked in the officer’s quarters in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Police Superintendent Vipin Tada told AFP: “We sent her for a medical examination and are awaiting a final report.

“The policeman will be undergoing medical tests to confirm whether he was consuming alcohol inside his quarters.”

The Press Trust of India reported that angry locals tried to attack the local police in protest, but were apparently pacified when they learned the suspect had been arrested.

India has an endemic problem with sexual assaults against children, with more than 10,000 cases reported in 2015, according to government statistics – with convictions in only a few dozen such cases.

Despite strengthening its laws on sexual violence after the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi in 2012 caused global outrage, rape against women and children remain commonplace in the country.

There have also been reports of Indian doctors being afraid to help child rape victims obtain abortions for fear of criminal prosecution.

Delhi's Commissioner for Women, Swati Maliwal, has called for better policing to help bring the perpetrators to justice – but has also pointed out that poverty appears to be a major factor in rape and incest cases.

“In almost all cases of incest, where we see that family is poor, these kind of questions are coming and they are very, very real questions,” she said.

“They need to be addressed, there needs to be systems, there needs to be protection of the child.”

The country is also ranked as the seventh worst country in the world for child sex trafficking, according to the Maplecroft organisation.

Rape is punishable by the death penalty in India only if injuries result in the death of the victim, and in practice capital punishment is very rarely used.

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