A second suspect was arrested today in the rape of a 5-year-old girl who New Delhi police say was left for dead in a locked room, a case that has brought a new wave of protests against how Indian authorities handle sex crimes.
Pradeep Kumar was arrested Monday in the eastern state of Bihar, about 1,000 kilometers from New Delhi, and was being brought to the capital, police said. The two men are not related.
Police said questioning of the first man arrested in the case, Manoj Kumar, led them to the second suspect. Manoj Kumar, 24, was arrested Saturday in Bihar and has since been flown back to New Delhi.
The men are accused of abducting, raping and attempting to murder the 5-year-old, who went missing April 15 and was found two days later by neighbors who heard her crying in a locked room in the same New Delhi building where she lives with her family. The girl was alone when she was found, having been left for dead by her attackers, police say.
The girl was in critical condition when she was transferred Thursday from a local hospital to the largest government-run hospital in the country. DK Sharma, medical superintendent of the state-run hospital in New Delhi where the girl was being treated, said Monday that she was responding well to treatment and that her condition had stabilized.
“She is much better today and her wounds are healing well,” Sharma told reporters.
For the second consecutive day, hundreds of people protested Sunday outside police headquarters in the capital, angry over allegations that police failed to act after the girl's parents told them she was missing.
The protesters also demanded that the Delhi police chief be removed from office and that police officials accused of failing to act on the parents' complaint be dismissed.
“Police and other officials that fail to do their jobs and instead engage in abusive behavior should know that they will be punished,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch.
Police said they detained more than 50 protesters when they tried to break down barricades on the road leading to Gandhi's house. The protesters were released after a few hours.