“In Mandsaur an eight-year-old girl was kidnapped and gang-raped and is battling for her life.
“The brutality this young child was subjected to sickens me. As a nation, we must come together to protect our children and bring the attackers to speedy justice,” Gandhi tweeted.
The child was abducted while she was waiting for her father outside her school on Tuesday. She was gang-raped, her throat was slit and left to die. A day later, the Madhya Pradesh police arrested Irfan alias Bhaiyu, 20, a labourer, on the basis of CCTV footage.
On Friday, the police made another arrest of a construction worker, Asif, 24, after Irfan named him as an accomplice. Both were booked under relevant sections of the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act even as the probe continued.
Doctors treating the victim in Indore said she was “severely assaulted”. She has started showing signs of improvement, they said, adding that the minor might be out of danger physically but her mental trauma would last longer. Several political leaders and eminent personalities have reacted to the horrific incident on the social media.
Veteran actress Shabana Azmi said: “It’s blood curdling. What’s happening to this world? Culprits must be brought to book and given the strictest punishment.”
AICC General Secretary and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condemned the incident and said: “Such a horrific crime is a shame on humanity. We all are with the victim and her family members.”
Commentator and right wing activist Rahul Easwar has applauded the Muslim community in Mandsaur for coming forward against the crime and asking for the strictest punishment to the accused.
“Applause and respect to our Muslim leaders in Mandsaur. No place for rape accused in muslim community graveyard and no prayers will be offered to him on his death – Muslim community leaders on Irfan, the rape accused of Mandsaur,” tweeted Easwar tagging a media report on the same.
The incident has sparked protests in different cities across the region in Madhya Pradesh demanding capital punishment for the accused.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday condemned the incident and said that rapists were a “burden on the earth” and his government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the accused were hanged.
Chouhan has assured the best possible treatment to the victim and said his government would also take care of her education and future needs.