Even as the country is trying to come to terms with the trauma of the Delhi gang-rape victim, a two-and-half-year-old girl succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday, three days after she was raped by a distant relative in Halol town of Panchmahals district.
As the news of the girl’s death at Vadodara’s SSG Hospital spread, the entire Halol town observed a bandh in protest. Residents of the town have demanded capital punishment for the accused.
According to case details, Ram Prasad, who hails from Nepal, had been living in Halol for the last two years. He was employed as a watchman at Vaishali society in the town and used to live in the same place with his wife and two-and-half-year-old daughter.
On December 22, the brother-in-law of Ram Prasad’s sister, Keshav Joshi (32), came to Prasad’s place and had dinner with his family. It is believed that Joshi lured Prasad’s daughter by offering her biscuits and took her to a deserted place near the society and raped her. Later on, out of fear of being caught, he threw the girl in the bushes near the society.
However, he was caught by the neighbours and the parents of the girl who thrashed him and handed him over to the police. The girl, who had sustained serious internal injuries, was taken to the referral hospital in Halol. However, doctors there referred her to SSG Hospital in Vadodara as there was no gynecologist available at the Halol hospital.
After battling for life for three days, the girl died of her injuries on Tuesday. A huge crowd gathered at Prasad’s society and joined the funeral procession of the girl. People have demanded the death sentence for the accused, and day-to-day trial of the case.
Police have slapped murder charge on the accused after the girl’s death, in addition to Section 376 for rape. Joshi is himself father of four daughters.
According to JK Patel, police inspector of Halol town police station, the girl was brutally raped by Joshi and this had caused severe internal injuries and bleeding. “Keshav Joshi is himself a father of four children. His family lives in Nepal while he lives alone at Virpur village in Nadiad where he works as watchman. We have added the charge of murder against him after the girl’s death on Tuesday” said Patel.