The two men accused of raping, torturing and slitting the throat of a seven-year-old last week will not be safe in jail in Mandsaur, officials have told the government of Madhya Pradesh.
Officials have expressed fear that the rape accused could even be killed by other prisoners in the overcrowded jail – the only one in the town around 350 km from state capital Bhopal.
The Mandsaur jail has a capacity to hold 250 prisoners – it currently has around 558. If the prisoners are provoked, the situation could easily go out of hand, jail officials have told the court and the police, refusing to keep the rape accused in the jail.
Deputy Jailor Sunil Sharma said “We have written a letter to the administration and the court stating that the prisoners are angry at the two accused for committing such heinous crime. We do not separate to keep the under trials, they will have to stay with other inmates which can be dangerous for their safety.
The government is debating whether keeping them in a bigger jail in Bhopal, or in a separate cell, is the solution.
The Superintendent of Police Manoj Singh visited the Jail premises along with collector “We have visited the jail to ensure safety of the accused. We know that there is a perceived security threat., but we also have to keep in mind that we have to brought them to the court so we can not shift them far away. We are explorë all options in consultation with the Jail authorities and government.
The two men were caught within 24 hours of the rape that has sickened and angered the nation.
According to the police, the class 2 student was taken away by the two accused, Irfan and Asif, when she was outside her school on Tuesday, waiting for her parents to pick her up. The men gang-raped her and tortured her before slitting her throat and walking away, leaving her to die. The child is still in hospital.
The police zeroed in on the two after examining photographs and CCTV footage from the neighbourhood.
Officers zoomed in on footage in which the child was seen walking with a man and noticed the brand of his new shoes.
“The brand was visible and also the black thread,” said Rakesh Mohan Shukla, who was in charge of the investigation. “On basis of the footage, one of our informers called us and said he could be Irfan.”
The child was found the next day in bushes about 2,000 feet from her school. She was rushed to the hospital, where medical tests confirmed that she had been raped and assaulted with sharp-edged weapons.
As news of this incident emerged, protests broke out in Mandsaur and spread across central India. Hundreds of protesters armed with signs, candles and megaphones gathered in cities. Many called for the death sentence for the rapists.