Protesters target India’s leaders as fury over raped 5-year-old continues

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Small groups of protesters dodged police and tried to reach the homes of India’s leaders in the capital New Delhi yesterday, in a third day of protests after the alleged rape and torture of a five-year-old girl.

Police say the child was abducted on 15 April, kept in captivity and raped by a neighbour near her north Delhi home. The accused, who had fled, was brought back to the capital on Saturday. The girl, who suffered severe injuries, was slowly recovering after surgery.

Public fury over the attack has echoed the response to the gang rape and death of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist on a bus on December 16.

Police briefly detained dozens of women protesters yesteday from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party who tried to reach the house of Sonia Gandhi, the head of the ruling Congress party. Another group was blocked trying to reach the prime minister’s house.

Much of the protesters’ anger was directed at police, after allegations officers tried to bribe the family of the victim to not file a case.

Protesters burnt an effigy of the city’s police chief outside the hospital where the girl was being treated, and demanded his resignation.

“Taxpayers’ money is going towards their salaries, but they are doing nothing to protect us. We don’t trust the police – they are corrupt and lazy,” said protester Surendra Kumar.