Mumbai: Ram Nagar, a shanty settlement on a hill in the suburb of Vikhroli, experienced a spontaneous bandh on Saturday and more than 500 people staged a protest after a two-and-a-half-year-old girl was raped by her 23-year-old neighbour on Friday night.
The locals caught Sushant Singh, an unemployed man, and thrashed him before handing him over to police.
JD More, assistant commissioner of police, said around 9.15 pm, Singh had taken the girl from her house on the pretext of buying chocolates for her. As she did not return after half an hour, her mother informed the neighbours, who immediately started a search. As the news spread, a local recalled seeing Singh taking the girl toward the stairs that leads to the jungle.
The child's father, a watchman, had gone for work when the incident happened.
More than a hundred youngsters entered the jungle to search for her. The girl was found unconscious on the hill around 700 metres away from her home.
"The locals found the girl lying unconscious near Khandoba Tekri, on the hill, around 10.30 pm. A few metres away, they saw Singh. As the girl was bleeding, they suspected something fishy. Some youngsters became angry and started beating Singh who then admitted to having sexually assaulted her," said a police officer.
The girl was taken home and her father had, by then, returned home after hearing about her being missing. "She was rushed to Rajawadi hospital. The doctors operated up on the girl and she is now stable," said police inspector Prakash Chaughale.
A police team rushed the spot and took Singh in to custody. He has been booked for kidnapping and raping a minor. The girl's mother became unconscious after hearing that she was sexually assaulted. She was given first aid.
On Saturday morning, all the restaurants and shops, including medical stores, were shut and over 500 people gathered at Ram Nagar to stage a protest. Police force was deployed in the area to maintain law and order.
"We want a speedy trial and fast conviction. It's a heinous crime. The man had assaulted a girl who cannot even speak properly," an angry local said. "It's the police's job to ensure he is convicted. We want this case to be tried in the fast track court," said another resident.
Singh was produced before a court on Saturday and remanded in police custody.