In a shocking incident, an 18-month-old girl was allegedly raped by a man in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa, police said. The accused, who was known to the victim's family, has been arrested, they said. The 20-year-old man took the minor girl from her parents on the pretext of playing with her, police inspector Jaipal Inwasi. He then allegedly raped her at an agriculture farm in Harsud area, some 50km from the district headquarters, he said. When the man did not return with the toddler till night, the girl's mother lodged a police complaint, Inwasi said. The police launched a search and found that the girl has been sexually assaulted, he said.
The police arrested the accused and booked him under IPC section 376AB and also relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the inspector said.
Meanwhile, in a unrelated incident, a school teacher convicted for raping a four-year-old-girl has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against his death penalty, a prison official said. Mahendra Singh Gond (28) filed the SLP in the Supreme Court on February 11, challenging his death sentence in the rape case, Jabalpur Central Jail's law officer Ashok Singh said.
A trial court in Satna had earlier this month issued a 'death warrant' against Gond after the Madhya Pradesh High Court confirmed his death sentence on January 25, he said. The trial court had sent the death warrant, fixing his execution for March 2, 2019, through an e-mail to the Central Jail earlier this month.
The convict has other remedies also as he can file a mercy petition before the President, Singh said, adding the death warrant will be executed only after all the available legal remedies are exhausted.
The trial court had sentenced Gond to death under the recently-introduced Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 376(a)(b) (raping a minor under 12 years of age). Gond was also found guilty under IPC Section 363 (kidnapping), for which he was awarded seven years' rigorous imprisonment, besides being fined Rs 5,000, Singh said.
According to the prosecution, the convict had raped the minor girl after kidnapping her from her house on July 1, 2018 and later dumped her in the bushes. The girl received severe injuries in the incident and was admitted to a Delhi-based hospital. Gond was later arrested by the police and a charge sheet was filed against him.
Madhya Pradesh was the first state to enact a law in December 2017, providing for death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age. The Centre had brought an amendment in the IPC to punish the rapists of girls below 12 years of age with death last year.