An 11-month-old baby was kidnapped and raped for two hours in India after being snatched from her sleeping mother at a makeshift shelter.
The youngster was grabbed by a neighbour in Vikaspuri, in the city of Delhi, at around 10pm on Friday before being taken into the nearby jungle and attacked.
An hour later when the infant’s mother woke up, she realised her baby was missing and contacted the police who immediately began a search operation.
Officers then found the baby in an unconscious state and immediately took her to the intensive care unit at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.
A senior police officer told the Times of India: ‘The girl was bleeding profusely. Doctors at the hospital have said that her condition is serious.
The police team was helped by the recovery of the mobile phone to track the location of the accused. We traced him to the labour camp.
‘He said he then took her to the bushes beside a drain and raped her for nearly two hours.’
The man has been charged with rape and is being held in Tihar Jail under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
The child’s father later told police: ‘I was horrified to see my daughter’s condition. Her clothes were torn and she had nail marks all over the body.
‘The severe injuries might have a lifelong impact on her health.’
Sexual violence against females is a highly sensitive issue in India, where the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 sparked deep soul-searching about entrenched violence against women and the failure of authorities to protect them.
India has enacted tougher jail sentences for rapists and promised to try those accused through ‘fast-track’ courts but rape, acid attacks and domestic violence remain common.
An inefficient and underfunded judicial system, particularly outside big cities, and a patriarchal society also mean many victims are scared to come forward and when they do prosecutions move slowly, if at all.
Members of the lowest-rung of India’s centuries-old social hierarchy can find it particularly difficult to seek justice because of their poor economic statu