The police in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain city on Thursday arrested an auto rickshaw driver for allegedly raping and brutalising a girl, aged about 12, who had been found wandering on the city streets in injured condition three days ago.
The condition of the girl, admitted to an Indore hospital, was improving slowly, said a member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) who visited the hospital.
Accused Bharat Soni, detained during the probe, tried to escape when the police took him to the crime spot for recreating crime scene and collect evidence like torn clothes, said Mahakal police station in-charge Ajay Verma.
He was chased by the policemen and caught when he fell on the cemented road after getting trapped around a corner, Verma told reporters. The incident took place near Jeevan Khedi locality and two policemen also sustained injured in the scuffle, he said.
Soni, the only accused in the case, is a resident of Nanakheda area of the city, the official added. The police had detained him on the basis of CCTV footage earlier and claimed to have found blood stains on the passenger seat of his auto rickshaw.
The condition of the girl, who underwent a major surgery at an Indore hospital on Wednesday, was improving, but she will take a long time to recover from the mental trauma, said a member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) who visited the hospital.
Why no one came to her aid when the girl was wandering on the Ujjain streets for more than two hours seeking help, asked NCPCR member Dr Divya Gupta.
A counsellor interacted with her and found that she belongs to Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. Whether she was the same girl about whom a missing person's report had been filed will be confirmed after the missing girl's family identifies her, the police said.
The girl was found bleeding on a road in Mahakal police station limits in Ujjain on Monday. She was taken to a hospital where medical examination found that she had been raped.
She was operated upon by a team of specialist doctors at the Government Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar Women's Hospital in Indore on Wednesday.
"The police have taken an auto rickshaw driver into custody on the basis of video footage. We also found blood stains on the passenger seat of his rickshaw," Ujjain Superintendent of Police Sachin Sharma said.
"Five others are also being questioned," he said.
The girl's identity was yet to be established as she could not tell her name, age and address properly, but a counsellor interacted with her and found that she belongs to Satna district, he said.
A missing girl report had been filed at Jaitwara police station in Satna on September 25, Sharma added.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of police is conducting further probe, the SP said.
Satna's Additional Superintendent of Police Shivesh Singh Baghel said the missing person's report about a girl, aged around 13 years and wearing a school uniform, was filed at Jaitwara police station. This girl was a little cognitively-challenged as per the report filed by her family members, he said.
"After seeing the images of the victim in school uniform (found in Ujjain), the police suspected that she is the same missing girl. A police team along with the missing girl's family members has been sent to Ujjain for identification," he said.
Dr Divya Gupta, member (child health, care and welfare) of the NCPCR, visited the Holkar Women's Hospital in Indore during the day and met the doctors treating the girl.
"The girl has lost a lot of blood and has undergone a major surgery. She has been given two bottles of blood so far. But with the treatment, her condition is gradually improving,” Gupta, a gynaecologist herself, told PTI.
"We have given strict instructions to the administration that no outsider should be allowed to meet the girl as she gets upset whenever she sees any stranger. She gestures that the person leave the room immediately,” Gupta said.
The girl belongs to a tribal area and hence she has directed the doctors to also test her for sickle cell anaemia, the NCPCR member added.
"We are ensuring that the girl recovers physically as soon as possible, but it will take a lot of time for her to recover mentally. We can't even imagine what has happened to her. A female psychologist has also been appointed for the girl,” Gupta said.
The incident shows a mirror to society, she said. "After the rape, the girl wandered on the streets of Ujjain for two-and-half hours, seeking help....someone should have come forward to help this child. But no one came,” she said.
Gupta, who is associated with the ruling BJP, however, also said it was shameful that the case was being politicised in view of the coming assembly elections and the Congress was trying to settle political scores with the BJP.