India: Rape of Five-Year-Old Puts Focus on Police Reaction
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:25 PM

Two men have been arrested for raping a five-year-old girl, leaving her hospitalized and in need of life-saving surgery. The police station made the parents of the five-year-old wait for hours after reporting that the child was missing. The police made no attempt to search the building in which the child lived. The child’s father expressed further outrage at a policeman’s offer of $40 to not go to higher authorities or the media regarding the incident.   

Suneeta Dhar, director of a Delhi-based advocacy group to end violence against women explained to Women's eNews, “This incident is a shameful indicator of the inadequate response and abject failure of state agencies to uphold the rights and safety of women. It is time that the government and its entire machinery, including the police, institute mechanisms and practices that will end impunity for all forms of violence against women." Groups that have been leading recent protests--women's and civil society advocates--say that the treatment of the missing girl's case shows the glaring casualness with which police and the administration continue to respond to crimes against women. “The police need orientation on both the laws--Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences and the new anti-rape bill--on an urgent basis,” said Dhar. “The police must also ensure that they take urgent necessary steps to ensure competent, legal and sensitive responses by personnel at all levels.”

More than 30 nongovernmental organizations, lawyers, and advocates have petitioned the federal home minister demanding accountability of the government and police, including prompt and exemplary action against police officers guilty of dereliction of duty.
Compiled from: Majumdar, Swapna, “Delhi Rape Protests Focus on Policing the Police,” Women’s eNews (24 April 2013).