By Nita Bhalla
NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) - Police in northern India locked up a 10-year-old rape victim after her family insisted on pressing charges against the alleged rapist, a local man, the Times of India reported on Wednesday.
The girl was on her way to a shop in Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh state when the man, who she knew, lured her to a deserted area and raped her, the paper said.
When her parents took her to the local police station, police tried to persuade the victim and her family not to lodge a complaint, assuring them that the matter could be settled by the payment of compensation.
"When the family remained adamant to lodge a case, the cops shoved the 10-year-old inside the police station lock-up," the Times of India reported. "The victim was let out only after Times Now (television channel) highlighted the case and aired visuals of the rape victim sitting inside the lock-up."
The report said the media coverage of the story forced the local police to register the girl’s complaint, and they were now looking for the accused, who had fled the area.
Women's rights experts and lawyers say rape victims in India endure an archaic, poorly funded, under-resourced and insensitive criminal justice system which fails to care for victims and deliver justice.
Police often try to dissuade victims from complaining and suggest a "compromise" between the victim and the perpetrator, largely because of their insensitivity to sex crimes, but also because local police officials are rarely held accountable.
Public outrage over the fatal gang rape of a woman in New Delhi in December pushed the Indian government into passing a tougher new law to punish sex crimes. This includes sentences of up to two years’ jail for police and hospital authorities if they fail to register a complaint or treat a victim.