Outrage as eight-month-old girl raped by cousin in Delhi

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NEW DELHI — An eight-month-old Indian girl was on Tuesday recovering in hospital after she was raped at her home in Delhi, the latest such case in a country notorious for high levels of sexual violence.

The girl’s parents rushed her to hospital after discovering her bed covered in blood when they returned from work on Sunday. She later underwent a three-hour operation for her injuries.

The Press Trust of India said the girl’s 27-year-old cousin had been arrested and charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, meaning he could face a life sentence.

“The worst has happened,” tweeted Swati Maliwal, the head of the Delhi Commission for Women, after visiting the girl in hospital.

“An eight-month-old baby has been brutally raped in the Capital and is battling for her life in a hospital.”

This distressing case of assault on an infant has shocked India and has made national headlines. The extent of her injuries has horrified many and prompted them to wonder whether we have reached a new low.

But a look at the statistics, compiled by the government, show that such crimes are not uncommon.

And worryingly, their numbers are rising rapidly.

According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data quoted by the BBC, 2016 saw 19,765 cases of child rape being registered in India — a rise of 82 percent from 2015 when 10,854 cases were recorded.

A couple of years ago, an 11-month-old was kidnapped by a neighbor while she slept next to her mother and brutally raped for two hours.

And in November 2015, a three-month-old was kidnapped and assaulted in the southern city of Hyderabad.

Maliwal posted another tweet expressing her anguish.

“What to do? How can Delhi sleep today when 8-month baby has been brutally raped in capital? Have we become so insensitive or we have simply accepted this as our fate?”

She also tweeted a direct appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that "stricter laws and more police resources" were needed to protect girls in the country.

Others joined her, expressing shame and anger over the horrific crime.

A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said one in three rape victims in India was a minor and expressed alarm over the widespread sexual abuse of children.

It said three children were raped every day in Delhi alone.

The city, known as India’s rape capital, hit global headlines in 2012 for the fatal gang rape of a young female student, sparking days of protests and forcing the government to introduce tougher anti-rape laws, including the death penalty. — Agencies


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