There have been violent protests in the Indian capital, New Delhi, after reports that a seven-year-old girl was raped at a state-run school.
Incensed by news of the incident, demonstrators attacked police barricades and threw stones at buses in the area on Friday.
It followed confirmation by a New Delhi police spokesman who said they were investigating the alleged rape of the girl and were questioning teachers and security guards at the school.
The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
According to media reports, the incident occurred at a school managed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi where the victim had gone to take her midday meal on Thursday.
Dr Sanjay Kumar, who helped treat the girl, said she had injuries consistent with rape.
A local resident, Amar Singh said that the people were frustrated over the incident and questioned the safety of girls.
"After all we have to send [girls] to schools also but school is doing these kinds of things, its very shame for us"
- Barkha Shukla Singh,
"The city is unsafe and how will our daughters feel safe?," Singh said.
The Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Barkha Shukla Singh condemned the incident and demanded the school authorities to take adequate steps to avoid occurrence of such incidents.
"Actually this is very unfortunate that these kinds of cases are again and again repeating in Delhi, and what can I say because girls have to go to schools. After all we have to send them to schools also but school is doing these kinds of things, its very shame for us," Singh said.
"I will request the school that they should put the CCTV cameras, monitoring and some security guards so that our children could be secured."
The incident has taken place at a time when the issue of women security and rape laws is the epicentre of a debate in
the Indian parliament in the wake of a surge in brutal sexual assaults.
Public anger against crimes against women exploded after the fatal gang-rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in December last year.
Five suspects have been indicted on 13 charges including gang rape, murder and abduction.
If convicted, they could face the death penalty.
A sixth suspect will be tried in a juvenile court and could face a maximum sentence of three years in a reform facility.
The brutal attack set off nationwide protests about India's treatment of women and spurred the government to hurry through a new package of laws to protect them.
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|William A. Cook|