A six-year-old old girl narrowly escaped rape after a 24-year-old neighbour abducted her and attempted to rape her in Santacruz last morning. However, prompt action from her brothers and some alert locals helped save the child in the nick of time.
According to the police, the child was on her way to tuitions with her two brothers when the incident took place. Along the way, her brothers asked her to wait alone while they fetched another friend for the tuition class. This is part of their daily schedule.
While the girl was waiting, the accused, identified as Abdul Latif Istiak Malik (24) grabbed hold of the girl, covered her face, and dragged her inside his room. He then attempted to force himself upon her. Meanwhile, her brothers returned to the spot and realised, to their alarm, that she was nowhere in sight. They immediately informed their parents of her disappearance, and started searching high and low for the girl, but failed to locate her. It was then that a local told them that she had seen Malik with the girl.
By that time, several locals had gathered. One of them, Mohammad Saalim Khan, said, “We rushed to Malik’s house and he had locked the door from inside. I peeped through the window and saw Malik naked, and the girl next to him crying. I warned him of dire consequences if he didn’t open the door.”
At this point, around 100 locals had gathered around the house. They broke open the door and brought Malik out, giving him a sound thrashing before turning him in to the police. According to the police, the child is completely traumatised by the incident. She refuses to let go of her parents and gets scared whenever she sees anyone.
PSI Deepak Shinde of the Vakola police station said, “Malik was arrested under section 509 and 342 of the IPC and sections of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He has made similar attempts on other girls too in the area, and we are investigating in the case in that light.” Khan said, “In the past, he has made advances on girls, but we avoided calling the police. But this time it was very serious. The life of a six-year-old girl was in danger. The father of the accused runs a scrap business.”