A four-year old girl raped and left for dead earlier this month in central India died Monday evening after her heart stopped working.
The unnamed girl was taken on April 17, and the next morning she was found unconscious by her parents in the town of Ghansour, in Madhya Pradesh state.
“Her heart and lungs stopped functioning,” Dr. Ashok Tank, one of the girl's doctors, told The New York Times. “It is very inhuman that such a young girl was subjected to sexual abuse.”
Police have arrested Firoz Khan, 27, the alleged rapist, and Rakesh Chaudhary, 25, the alleged kidnapper who stole the young girl with the promise of bananas.
Ravi Manadiar, a hospital administrator, told the Associated Press the girl, who has also been identified as 5-years-old, suffered brain damage when the two men tried to subdue her cries. She had been in a coma since April 20.
The girl's mother had hoped her daughter would wake up. “My Daughter has not opened her eyes since last four days," she told The Hindu. "I want to see her open her eyes."
Seoni Police Superintendent Mithlesh Shukla said "the investigation is going on," adding the suspects would soon be charged with the intent to ensure "they get the strictest punishment."
Earlier this month the rape and torture of a five-year-old girl by two men in New Delhi began widespread protests against sexual violence. The girl is recovering in a hospital and is reported in stable condition.
In December, a deadly gang rape of a 23-year-old New Delhi student spurred nation wide protests.
Varun Amar, a lawyer from Madhya Pradesh, wondered why India had not taken to the streets for the 4-year-old girl the way it had in other recent cases.
“The value of life for a little girl whether in Delhi or Madhya Pradesh is the same,” he told the Times. “So why are people not coming on to the streets when this girl has died?”
The rural-urban divide may indeed explain why the rape and killing of a four year old child in Madhya Pradesh has not sparked the same frenzy of media attention as a similar crime in New Delhi -- which anyway dominates India's so-called "national" news, says GlobalPost's Jason Overdorf in New Delhi.
"But the widespread protests following the rape of a young child in New Delhi last week stemmed from a different kind of outrage," Overdorf said. "In that case, the parents of the victim--who was later found in another apartment within the same building--alleged that the police had initially refused to investigate and then offered the father a bribe of 2000 rupees (about $40) to try to keep him from raising an outcry."