'Raped' Delhi five-year-old in a critical condition

The five-year-old rape victim is moved to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital from Swami Dayanand hospital for treatment The issue of sexual violence against women and girls has been under intense scrutiny in India

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A five-year-old girl is battling for her life after being allegedly kidnapped and repeatedly raped by a neighbour in the Indian capital, Delhi.

The girl was taken hostage on Monday and attacked in a locked room for over 48 hours, police said.

Reports say she was rescued by a passer-by who heard her cries on Wednesday. No arrests have been made.

The gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in December sparked protests across India.

In a separate development, police in Delhi say they are also looking for a group of men who allegedly gang-raped a 19-year-old woman on Wednesday night.

Reports say the woman, who works as a domestic helper, was offered a lift in a vehicle by the men and then allegedly sedated and raped.

'Traumatised'

The five-year-old girl has been admitted to a city hospital in a critical condition.

"The girl was traumatised when she was brought to us. There were injuries to her lips, cheeks and chest wall. There were bruises on her neck," RN Bansal, chief of Swami Dayanand hospital, told the NDTV news channel.

Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told the AFP news agency that police had launched a probe into the rape and "attempted murder" of the girl.

There have been protests outside the hospital where the girl is being treated.

Mr Bhagat said a case of rape had been registered in connection with the attack on the 19-year-old girl, who was found semi-naked by pedestrians on a road early on Thursday.

Doctors at the city's Safdarjung Hospital said she that although she was suffering from trauma, there were no signs of external injuries.

Reports said the woman, who is married and comes from from Nepal, was on the way to her brother's house from her employer's residence in the up-market Defence Colony neighbourhood when a car carrying the men stopped to ask her for directions and offered to drop her near her home.

The issue of sexual violence against women and girls has been under intense scrutiny in India after the rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in December led to widespread protests.

Six people were charged over the case, which shocked the nation. Four are on trial in a specially-convened fast-track court and face the death penalty. A fifth suspect was found dead in prison.

The sixth man, a minor, is being tried in a juvenile court. All the accused have pleaded not guilty.

Last month India passed a new bill containing harsher punishments, including the death penalty, for rapists.

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