While the national capital resonated with the cries of “We want justice” on day one of the New Year with hundreds braving the biting cold and gathering near Jantar Mantar to demand justice for the 23-year-old gang rape victim and stricter legislation against rape and other crimes against women, a six-year-old girl was raped by an 18-year-old student in the state’s cultural capital yesterday morning.

In the net: The accused — a Std XII student — being brought to Hadapsar police station. Police say the 18-year-old had bunked college to keep himself updated with the course of the investigation. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

The minor, along with her mother, had come to Hadapsar to visit her aunt. According to Assistant Commissioner of Police VT Pawar, Abhishek Shinde — a Std XII student — forced himself upon the minor in the bushes near MHADA Colony in Vaidwadi, where she had gone to answer nature’s call with her four-year-old cousin. The incident came to light when the girl went home crying and narrated the incident to her mother. The family then approached Hadapsar police station and lodged an FIR against an unidentified person.

Inhuman: Abhishek Shinde being brought to Hadapsar police station after he was arrested from his home last evening. Shinde had bunked college to keep a watch on cops and monitor the course of the investigation. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Swift action
Sensitised to the vulnerability of women following the nationwide alarm over increasing crimes against women, the cops swung into action and immediately obtained the footage that was recorded in the CCTV camera installed in the housing society. In the footage, cops saw a young man wearing a white shirt and black trousers with a bag on his back accompanying the girl. However, as the quality of the footage was poor, the police faced difficulty in identifying the accused.

Mystery solved
According to Manoj Patil, DCP (Zone IV), Shinde was wandering in the area to keep an eye on police movement. Besides, he bunked college to keep himself updated with the course of the investigation. “We had interrogated 30 students who were wearing a similar uniform as the accused seen in the CCTV footage. However, we found that Shinde walked and behaved the same way as the youth in the footage. After collecting enough evidence against him, he arrested him in the evening.”

Shinde’s arrest came as a shock to his parents, who, according to police, aren’t co-operating in the investigation. Meanwhile, the girl was taken to Sassoon General Hospital where the doctors confirmed that she was raped. “The girl is under observation and is recuperating from the trauma. We have decided to keep her under observation for two to three days, and provide the victim psychological counseling,” said DG Kulkarni, medical superintendent of the hospital. 

Did you know?
As per the information provided by the Pune Police Commissionerate in response to an RTI query, 456 women and young girls were raped in the city over the last six years