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    Rape of eight-month-old baby sickens India

    The grotesque sexual assault on an 8-month-old baby in Delhi is the latest in a series of rapes that has prompted serious soul-searching as to why authorities are failing to protect women and girls.
    A 28-year-old man has been arrested in the Indian capital on charges of raping his 8-month-old female cousin.
    “The man has confessed, he was drunk when he attacked the girl,” a senior police officer said on Tuesday. The incident happened at her home in Delhi on Sunday, and marks the latest such case in a country notorious for high levels of sexual violence.
    Delhi Commission of Women chief Swati Maliwal visited the child in hospital on Monday night and tweeted that her injuries were “horrific.”
    The child’s parents had gone to work leaving their daughter in the care of their sister-in-law, police said. It was the sister-in-law’s son who raped the child. When the mother returned from work, she found her daughter lying unconscious in a pool of blood, Indian news agency IANS reported, citing police investigators.
    The mother who works as a domestic help called her husband, a daily wage laborer, and they took the child to hospital where it was found that she was sexually assaulted. Investigations pointed to the child’s cousin as the assaulter.
    A case has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. Maliwal said the child underwent three hours of surgery. “She suffered inhuman injuries to internal organs,” Maliwal tweeted in Hindi. “When will things change?”
    The incident comes at a time when a series of sexual assault cases have already thrust into focus the utter lack of protection for Indian women and girls, both in public and private spaces. Over the past several weeks, multiple assaults on women and girls have been reported from five towns in India’s northern state of Haryana. The crude and frighteningly brutal nature of these attacks had already had Indian society reeling in shock and despair at its inability to prevent such crimes.

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