New rape outrage in India as girl, 7, attacked

Thousands protested in the resort state of Goa after the rape of a seven-year-old girl in a school toilet sparked fresh outrage in India on Tuesday, following a deadly gang-rape on a bus.

Crowds began gathering outside the Deepvihar High School in the city of Vasco da Gama on Monday night after news of the attack emerged, prompting police to arrest the headmistress on charges of negligence and appeal for calm.

A massive hunt has been launched for the attacker, thought to be in his early 20s, who managed to get into the premises despite guards posted at the gate.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the youngster was raped after being dragged inside the toilet next to the headmistress's office during a break in classes.

Police were alerted after the girl complained of pain and was given a medical examination.

She was taken to hospital and has since been discharged, a charity worker accompanying her told AFP, adding she was recuperating at home.

Thousands of people surrounded the school on Monday night, shouting demands for the arrest of the headmistress and the perpetrator.

Demonstrations spread to other parts of the city on Tuesday, with shops and businesses closing in protest

Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar visited the scene to try and calm the tense gathering.

"We will not spare the accused and anyone involved in this crime," he told the crowds, after which the headmistress was detained. She was later arrested for negligence of duty, the police official said.

The case has been transferred from local police to the state crime branch, which has asked a teacher to help draw a sketch of the accused, seen loitering in the school compound.

Deputy Inspector General of Goa police O.P. Mishra told reporters a special investigation team was working on the "very sensitive case", while neighbouring state forces had been alerted about the suspect.

The attack comes after the gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi last month sparked nationwide protests and fuelled nationwide anger over the alarming incidence of sexual assault.

Five men and a teenager have been charged with the rape and murder of the 23-year-old woman, who died 13 days later in a Singapore hospital from horrific injuries.

Police say the suspects lured the woman and her male companion onto a private bus in the capital when the pair were returning home from the cinema.

The group allegedly beat the man and raped the young woman in the back of the bus while driving around the city for about 45 minutes.

They also sexually assaulted the woman with a metal bar, leaving her with severe intestinal injuries, before throwing her out of the vehicle.

Protesters across the country have called for tougher laws to punish rapists, including the introduction of capital punishment in the most extreme cases.

In a separate case, a New Delhi court on Tuesday sentenced a 60-year-old man to death for sexually assaulting and killing a three-year-old in the capital's southwest in 2011.

The accused, who goes by the single name of Bharat, was a private security guard, lawyers present at the trial told AFP.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • 5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus
    5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus

    As Christians worldwide gather for Easter to celebrate their belief in the death and rebirth of Jesus, researchers continue to delve into the mysteries that surround the man. The following are five questions about Jesus that, for now, at least, remain unanswered. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke argued that the Star of Bethlehem (a celestial event long associated with Jesus' birth) may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Other researchers have claimed that a similar conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter occurred in October of 7 B.C. Still others have claimed that Jesus was born in the spring, based on stories about shepherds watching over their flocks in fields on the night of Jesus' birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter.