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A six-year-old rape victim has died in hospital ten days after being attacked, sparking furious protests in India which saw her family lay the girl’s body in the street.
The girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her cousin while she was at home in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state.
She was being treated at a hospital in Delhi but succumbed to her injuries today, October 6.
Her death comes amid widespread demonstrations over the death of a 19-year-old woman following an alleged gang-rape in September.
In an act of protest, the distraught family placed the girl’s body on a road in India’s Sadabad region and demanded the arrest of negligent police personnel.
Police arrested the accused, Radharaman Pandey, 30, on the same day as the attack, according to Times of India.
The girl was left at home to look after her siblings while her parents worked, the website reports.
While her siblings were outside, Pandey – who was already acquainted with the children – allegedly assaulted the girl inside her home.
A neighbour heard the girl shouting and summoned the girl’s mother who alerted the local police.
Pandey was taken into custody soon after, and the girl was taken to hospital.
According to english.jagran.com officer Aligarh Muniraj – the Station House Officer of Iglas – has been suspended for laxity in arresting the accused.
Senior officials have reportedly gone to the site of the protests in an attempt to calm the demonstrations.
The news of the girl’s death comes amid widespread outrage over the alleged gang-rape and death of a 19-year-old woman, also in Uttar Pradesh state.
On Saturday, India’s federal police said it would investigate the case which has sparked nationwide protests.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman died of her injuries earlier this week, triggering protests by both opposition political parties and the public in New Delhi and elsewhere against atrocities against a community often ostracized under India’s centuries-old caste system.
The police have arrested four high-caste men on the charges of gang-rape and murder.
India is one of the world’s most dangerous places for women, with a rape occurring on average every 15 minutes based on federal data.
Five senior police officers have already been suspended over the investigation amid criticism of law enforcement’s actions – including the cremation of the woman’s body in the middle of the night against the wishes of her family.
The chief minister of the state – India’s most populous with 200 million people – announced the decision to transfer the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation late Saturday.
‘We are committed to giving the strictest punishment to the people responsible for this incident,’ Yogi Adityanath, who is from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), wrote on Twitter.
Adityanath has faced criticism in recent days for not allowing media and opposition parties to speak with the family of the dead woman.
Public criticism grew after the family of the victim said her body had been cremated by police without their consent, an allegation officials deny.
On Saturday, hundreds of police officers barricaded a highway connecting the capital New Delhi to Hathras. Several opposition leaders also drove out to meet the victim’s family.
In India’s eastern Kolkata and Bhubaneswar cities, political parties and women organisations marched in protest against the incident and demanded justice for the woman, video footage from ANI news agency showed.
In December 2012, the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman sparked nationwide outrage and led to a tough new anti-rape law.
An average of nearly 90 rapes were reported in India every day last year, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.
India’s 200 million low-caste Dalits have long faced discrimination, and campaigners say attacks have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
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