Indian police have arrested a second man in connection with the rape and torture of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi.
The development came as parliament was adjourned twice amid an uproar about the crime.
The anger echoes the response to the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus last year, who later died of her injuries. Protesters are angry that authorities have failed to prevent more such crimes.
Police say the child was abducted on Monday last week and kept in captivity by two men in the basement of the building that she lived in with her family. Neighbours say they found her two days later after hearing her cries.
Media reported several other attacks on children over the weekend, including that of a nine-year old girl in the northeastern state of Assam, who had her throat slit after being gang-raped, television channels said.
A man was arrested at the weekend for the attack on the five-year-old and is due to appear in a court in the capital this week.
The second suspect, in his early 20s, was arrested early on Monday at a relative’s house in the eastern state of Bihar on information received from New Delhi, local police chief Rajeev Mishra said.
‘Evil has not abated’
Brutal sex crimes are common in India. New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures.
But most such crimes go unreported and justice is slow, according to social activists, who say successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women and children.
Last year’s attack brought thousands on to the streets in protest and provoked national debate about the rising number of vicious attacks on women, putting the issue firmly on the national political agenda a year before elections.
Activists planned a fourth day of street action amid heavy security in the capital after protesters tussled with police and tried to reach the homes of India’s leaders at the weekend. The protesters are calling for New Delhi’s police chief to resign.
The five-year-old girl’s name has not been revealed, but media have nicknamed her “Gudiya”, or doll.
She has undergone surgery and was in stable condition on Monday, a doctor at the hospital where she is being treated told reporters.
The lower house of parliament was adjourned twice after opposition politicians rushed into the building, some demanding discussion on the rape case. Others were protesting against corruption and other issues.
“Though parliament has recently passed tougher legislation to prevent rapes, the evil has not abated and such incidents are still on the rise throughout the country,” House Speaker Meira Kumar said before the house was adjourned.