Sex attackers in India who raped a toddler leaving her with scratch and bite marks all over her body have been branded “animals”.
The two-year-old was one of two youngsters reported to have been attacked in separate assaults in the capital Delhi, sparking public outrage and demands to crackdown on rising violence against women and girls.
A five-year-old girl is also in a critical condition in hospital after being raped in the city.
Three men have been arrested in connection with that sex attack, while two teenagers have been detained over the rape of the two-year-old.
The toddler had been snatched during a power outage while playing outside her home in west Delhi on Friday evening.
Family members found her unconscious and bleeding in a park three hours later.
The attacks come a week after a four-year-old girl was found dumped near a railway line.
She had been raped and slashed with a blade.
Visiting the young victims of the latest assaults in hospital, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the violence and called for greater security for women and girls.
He said: “Together we need to create such an environment in Delhi in which our mothers, our daughters can feel safe, which is not happening right now.
“That means there are some shortcomings in security.
“The Delhi government is doing all in its power to prevent such situations.
“But I feel police plays the biggest role – they need to help women feel safe.”
He also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a political rival, to do more.
Head of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Swati Maliwal expressed her disbelief after visiting the victims.
She said: “What is happening in Delhi? I cannot understand. I met the two-and-a-half-year old girl in hospital; she has scratch and bite marks all over her body.
“She was left bleeding in a park. What kind of Delhi is this? What kind of animals are these?”
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, the number of rapes in the country rose by 9% to 33,707 last year, of which nearly 2,000 – the highest number – were in Delhi.
In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in the city sparked widespread protests.
The government responded by doubling the maximum prison term for rape to 20 years and introducing the death sentence for repeat offenders.
While growing public awareness has seen more victims come forward, women’s rights groups have said many remain reluctant to report crimes such as rape or domestic violence for fear their families and communities will shun them.