Hundreds of protesters battled with police on Friday outside a New Delhi hospital where a seven-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted at school had been admitted.
Around 500 mostly angry youths stood outside the hospital which is located in a low-income neighborhood and threw bricks and stones at nearby police vans, several buses, and shops in the area. Police used lathi-charge and tear-gas on the crowd to disperse them.
Reportedly, four policemen were injured in the clashes. Police detained at least 12 people on charges of rioting and destroying public property.
“The protesters were angry over the assault on the little girl and were demanding that police act against the culprit,” a police press spokesperson told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
According to NDTV, the seven-year-old’s family said the schoolgirl was raped while attending the Municipal Corporation of Delhi primary school, and that the attack happened on Thursday afternoon [India time]. After the police were subsequently called to the school, the traumatized girl was taken to hospital and later discharged.
Doctors at the hospital confirmed the schoolgirl had been sexually assaulted
As yet, the police have made no arrests yet but they have detained a security guard and two male teachers of the school for questioning.
In response to the incident, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has called for tighter security and supervision in schools in the Indian capital, called the rape of a minor in a school “inhuman” and “shameful.”
This alleged crime in just the latest to be reported in India. Thousands took to the streets in January to protest against police inaction following the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a moving bus in Delhi in December.
More recently, villagers gathered in fury in the western state of Maharashtra after police failed to make arrests in a case in which three sisters aged between six and 11 were raped, killed and dumped in a well after they were reported missing.
AFP reports that in an early January in the Indian resort state of Goa, a seven-year-old girl was raped after being dragged into a toilet which was next to the headmistress’ office during a class break. The outrage touched off state-wide demonstrations as police launched a manhunt for the attacker who, to this day, remains at large.
While India’s authorities have vowed to improve safety conditions for women and children in the wake of the gang-rape student, rapes and assaults on the most vulnerable have continued with alarming regularity in Delhi, NDTV notes.