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Police slapped gang-rape charges on the two men, including a 19-year-old who was nabbed from Bihar Monday, in the barbaric rape of a five-year-old girl as parliament hotly debated rising rapes and 'depravity' in society, with many demanding death for child rapists. Even as protests continued in the capital, a rape attempt was made on an 11-year-old girl by a 22-year-old rickshaw puller in west Delhi.
The second accused, Pradeep Ram, was nabbed from Bihar's Lakhisarai district in the wee hours and remanded in judicial custody till May 4. He was brought to Delhi. Police had arrested Manoj Kumar, 22, on April 20 from his in-law's house in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district. The two have been booked under section 376-D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to gang-rape, Deputy Commissioner of Police Prabhakar told IANS.
The savagery of the rape saw parliament members voice outrage as they debated the issue, which saw participation of several women members. Many members, especially from the BJP, asked for death penalty for rapists of children. A cross section of MPs also raised questions about the direction of modernity, influence of globalization and effect of consumerist culture. There were also demands to check spread of pornographic material and complaints about obscenity in films and TV.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said: 'Can you imagine how depraved a society can be? And this is happening when we consider ourselves as being an emerging economy and pride ourselves in being a modern society.'
Yechury said the 'depravity' in society was due to 'modernoxicity' - intoxication with modern things - and the 'neo-liberal economic reforms' that had unleashed 'a new animal in India'. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati Monday said an all-party meeting should be held to suggest amendments to tackle any shortcomings in the anti-rape law and also called for death penalty in cases of barbaric rapes involving children.
Bharatiya Janata Party members Maya Singh and Smriti Irani demanded death penalty for child rapists and an all-party meet to discuss amendments to strengthen the anti-rape law. In the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde laid a statement on the rape incident saying the joint commissioner of police (Vigilance) has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the rape as well as probe allegations that local police paid some money to the father of the victim to hush up the case.
But opposition members were not to be placated. BJP members demanded Shinde's resignation over the issue. As parliament debated the issue, protesters continued to hold demonstrations in many areas of the capital - at ITO, Jantar Mantar, Parliament Street and at AIIMS, where the girl is being treated. Doctors said her condition is stable.
Activists of the Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party and others held placards and demanded the resignation of Delhi police Chief Neeraj Kumar. The top cop however brushed aside the demands. Many protesters also demanded the resignation of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and slammed Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The second accused Pradeep Ram, a garment factory worker was nabbed from his uncle's house. He told police that he had committed a mistake.
The girl had been abducted April 15 and kept hostage in a east Delhi flat rented by Manoj Kumar. She was sexually assaulted and brutalised, with a small glass bottle and candle bits inserted into her private parts.
Delhi has seen as many as 463 rape cases in the first four-and-a-half months of 2013 -- an increase of 158 percent over the same period last year, Delhi Police said. There has been at least a 600 percent rise in molestation cases while 783.67 percent more harassment cases have been noted in the same period, said an officer. Last year, as many as 179 rapes, 139 molestations and 49 cases of harassment were registered till April 15. The national capital has seen eight rape cases of minors in the past fortnight.
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