Indian police have arrested a 25-year-old man on charges of allegedly raping a five-year-old girl on the premises of the US embassy in the Indian capital, Delhi.
“The accused was arrested on Sunday immediately after the parents complained about the sexual attack,” investigating officer Yogesh Kumar said. Kumar said preliminary medical tests confirmed the girl had been raped. The man was charged under child rape laws that carry the death penalty.
BBC reported that the child’s family lives on the grounds of the embassy, where her father works as a member of the housekeeping staff. Police said the accused, a driver, is not employed by the embassy. However, he lives with his parents in the embassy’s staff quarters as his father works there.
Man allegedly rapes five-year-old girl at US embassy in Delhi https://t.co/gOIZSUsgJS
— Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) February 6, 2020
India is struggling to combat a growing number of sexual assault cases in the country and the latest incident has taken place at the diplomatic compound, which is considered one of the most secure places in Delhi, with multiple layers of manned and electronic security.
The US embassy is located in Chanakyapuri, a smart diplomatic enclave in central Delhi which is home to several embassies and high commissions. The heavily-guarded compound is spread over 28 acres and employs local staff.
How it happened?
The investigators told the Hindustan Times newspaper that the accused lured the girl to his house when she was playing outside and her parents were away. The paper added that the families of the accused and the victim knew each other well.
The girl told her mother what had happened when she returned home. She was immediately taken to hospital, where, police said, doctors confirmed that she had been raped.
Read more: India arrests 18 men in minor girl’s horrific rape case
Police said the man is being investigated under India’s stringent child protection laws.
In 2018, the government introduced the death penalty for those who rape children amid an uproar over two high-profile cases – the rape and murder of an eight-year-old, and the rape of a 16-year-old.
‘Every fourth rape victim is a child in India’
According to India’s latest crime figures, BBC reported, every fourth rape victim is a child. In an overwhelming number of rape cases – 94% – the victims know the perpetrators.
India’s poor record of dealing with sexual violence came to the fore after the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus. This led to huge protests and changes to the country’s rape laws.
In November, the gang rape and murder of a 27-year-old vet in the southern city of Hyderabad also made global headlines and sparked protests.
According to the reports published in The Guardian, Dawn and other papers quoting official data, almost 34,000 rapes were reported in 2018, with activists claiming the figure is just the tip of the iceberg.
Experts said most child victims are known to their abusers, with their families frequently choosing not to report the crimes to authorities amid social taboos against speaking out.
Read more: 6 year old girl raped by a rickshaw driver: Will the government respond?
Rape and violence against women in India has been under the international spotlight following the brutal gang-rape and murder of the student on the bus in 2012