Six-year-old kidnapped from footpath near Pune station, raped: Police

Girl was sleeping next to parents, abducted by auto-rickshaw driver; suspect arrested.

IN yet another case of kidnapping and rape of a minor, a six-year-old girl, who was sleeping next to her parents on a footpath adjacent to the bus stand near Pune railway station, was allegedly abducted by an auto-rickshaw driver and raped.

The police rescued the girl after receiving information from another auto-rickshaw driver, who saw the suspect take the girl away in his rickshaw.

The incident took place around 1 am on Thursday. Police officials said that the girl is the daughter of a homeless couple who live on the footpath next to the bus stand near Pune station premises.

Police have arrested the auto-rickshaw driver, identified as Sagar Mandhare (39).

The incident comes only days after a 14-year-old girl was kidnapped from Pune railway station area and raped by several men.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Sagar Patil said, “We received information from an auto-rickshaw driver who saw the suspect take the girl away in his rickshaw. Our teams immediately launched a search for the auto-rickshaw and traced the owner. Our probe revealed that the owner had given the rickshaw to another man on rent. The second man had sublet it to another person, who had given the rickshaw to the suspect in the case. We got to know about the location of the suspect and a team was immediately deployed to arrest him and rescue the girl. The girl was found with him…”.

Mandhare was subsequently placed under arrest and the girl, who was in a state of shock, was taken to a hospital for medical assistance. Primary probe suggested that she was sexually abused by the suspect before the police arrived at the scene.

A police inspector who is probing the case said, “The girl’s condition is stable. She is being given all possible assistance in the form of counselling and medical aid.”

Officials said that parents of the victim were migrant labourers and sometimes lived on the footpath, and at other times took shelter in a slum area.

During an interaction with the media in Pune on Thursday, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil was asked about the two incidents of abduction and rape of minor girls. Walse Patil said, “These are very unfortunate incidents. Police have taken all the necessary steps and made the arrests. This issue can just have a legal remedy and we as a society have a larger role to play if such incidents are to be stopped.”

When asked about the two back-to-back cases, Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta, who shared the dais with Walse Patil, said, “In both cases, police have taken swift action as soon as they received information. In the latest incident, the suspect was traced within two hours after getting information. A large chunk of police machinery was on the case after getting to know of the incident.”

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