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Manhunt continues for rapist of seven-year-old girl in India

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 14th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Widespread outrage and fresh dialogue in recent months over the sexual abuse of girls and young women in India hasn't prevented the latest outrage for that sprawling nation. Police now say that a seven-year-old girl was raped in a train's toilet compartment in central India over the weekend.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Investigators say that the child was lured away from her mother and her friend by a man in a park in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh state last week.
Police suspect that man then took her onboard a train and sexually assaulted her in the toilet compartment of a carriage sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The suspect "was apparently known to the friend of the child's mother," officials say.

The girl victim was later found Saturday morning at a train station. She is under treatment at a hospital where her condition is stable, police say.

The alleged attacker, around age 40, remains at large. Police teams have fanned out to capture the suspect. His identity has not yet been disclosed.

Increased dialogue on sex crimes in India have been ongoing ever since the gang rape of a 23-year-old female medical student aboard a speeding bus in New Delhi. She later died of her injuries at a hospital in Singapore.

Her case focused the nation's attention and anger on sex crimes. An outcry quickly then grew over the reported widespread harassment of women in public.

Widespread demonstrations have taken place in India's city streets in a call for stricter laws on sexual assault and changes in cultural attitudes toward women.

In reaction to this sweeping change in previous attitudes, a court convicted six men to life in prison in the gang rape of a Swiss tourist  in Madhya Pradesh state last month.

The victim and her husband in that incident were on a cycling tour across India and had camped near a forest in Datia district when a group of men assaulted them, beating the husband and raping the wife, according to police. The suspects were members of a local tribe who live near where the travelers were camping.

The latest incident shows that attitudes towards women, along with sexual equality in India still is still a long ways away.

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