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5-Year-Old Rape Victims: 2 Minors Assaulted, Tortured, Left for Dead in India

3 Arrests in Brutal Crimes; Human Rights Watch Says More Must Be Done

A 5-year-old girl's rape in Ghansaur town in the Seoni District of Madhya Pradesh has sparked fresh outrage among women's advocates throughout India and abroad. The young girl is in a critical condition and not doing well, according to reports, although her attacker, Firoz Khan, was arrested and charged.

The 5-year-old was allegedly raped and tortured April 17 at an unknown location before being left at a local farm the next morning. The parents of the unidentified youth found her unconscious at the farm, then took her to Netaji Subhash Chandra Medical College and Hospital Jalbalpur hospital for treatment, according to PTI news.

Because of her injuries, the girl was airlifted to Care Hospital in Ramdaspeth, Maharashtra April 20. Doctors believe her wounds to be severe.

"The condition of the minor girl is deteriorating," a spokesman for the hospital told PTI Tuesday.

Because of the outcry of various women's groups and advocates, who have been protesting the constant violence and sexual assault against Indian women recently, officials promised something would be done about the rape. Police arrested Firoz Khan, 35, with the crime and charged him.

Despite new, tougher rape laws that government officials have proposed, sexual assault is still rampant. The day before the 5-year-old was found on the farm unconscious, another 5-year-old girl was found after going missing for two days in New Delhi. She had been raped, beaten, and left for dead by two men, but found alive in a locked room in her apartment building.

The second young unnamed girl survived the brutal assault, however, and now has been reported to be stabilizing while under the care of the largest government-run hospital in India.

"She is much better today and her wounds are healing well," D. K. Sharma, the medical superintendent of the facility, told the Associated Press.

Pradeep Kumar was arrested Monday for the crime, and he was found in Bihar, about 620 from New Delhi, because of the questioning of the first assailant, Manoj Kumar, 24 (no relation).

Although the suspects were arrested, police officers' initial response to the crime was one of apathy. The 5-year-old girl's family claimed that Gandhi Nagar police first offered them a bribe of Rs 2,000- about $40 USD- to not report the rape.

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that the investigation is being done to find the corrupt officers.

"Since the victim's father is tied up at the hospital and is unable to come to the police station to identify the two officers, we will take the entire staff of the Gandhi Nagar police station to the hospital if the father agrees to it," he told reporters.

Pressure on lawmakers, police officers, and males to stop violence against women has increased significantly since the internationally publicized gang rape of a student on a bus Dec. 16, which resulted in her death. Still, of 600 rapes filed in 2012, just one led to a conviction, according to Time magazine. Sexual assault is also widely under-reported in India, a Human Rights Watch study found.

"Enacting strong laws are simply a first step, but it needs the government to focus urgently on implementation if it is serious about protecting children and other victims of sexual abuse," Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of the Human Rights Watch, told AP.

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