2-year-old girl battered, battles for life

New Delhi: In a shocking case of child abuse, a two-year-old girl with her head smashed, arms broken, face branded with hot iron and human bite marks all over her body is battling for life at AIIMS here.

The child, whose parents are untraced, is undergoing treatment at the neurosurgery ICU of AIIMS trauma centre and has been put on ventilator support after suffering two cardiac arrests in the past few days, said Dr Deepak Aggarwal.

A senior police official said the child was admitted to the hospital by a 15-year-old girl who claimed to be her mother and told hospital authorities that the baby was injured in a fall from bed. The claim was rejected by doctors who said that her version does not match with the grievous injuries on the child`s body.

"She was brought to us in a bitten and battered state on January 18. Her head was badly smashed, she had broken arms, bite marks all over her body and her cheeks branded with hot iron. The teenaged girl who brought her to us claimed that the present state was a result of her falling off from the bed, which is unbelievable," Dr M C Misra, chief of Jai Prakash Narayan AIIMS Trauma Centre said.

"Since she has got bite marks all over her body, we have asked our gynaecologist to carry out test for sexual abuse when she has recovered," he said. "Her chances of survival are fifty-fifty. If she did she will be dependent for the rest of her life because her brain has suffered permanent damage," he said.

Police found that the teenager had allegedly eloped with a boy last year and was staying in Sangam Vihar and the child was with her for about past 20 days, the official said.

A case under section 363 (kidnapping), 317 (abandoning a child below the age of 12 years) and 324 and 325 (dealing with hurt) has been registered against unknown persons in connection with the incident, Chhaya Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), told PTI.

"The parents of the child have not be traced yet. We have trail till Uttam Nagar," she said.

After the girl told hospital authorities that she was the mother of the child, the constable at the AIIMS police post became suspicious and did not allow her to leave. The girl told the police that the child got bruises on her body when she tried to prevent her from running around. The fractures were after the child fell in the bathroom, the official said.

Dr Misra said, "The claims made by the girl who brought this child to us do not match with the injuries seen on the child`s body. So we immediately informed the police. The girl was presented before the child welfare committee. We got to know that she has been sent to a juvenile home.

Sharma said they will put the photo of the child in ZIPNET, a network of police forces in five northern states, to know whether the victim was kidnapped. Also, it could help parents approach police. She said the Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Board have instructed the hospital authorities to take proper care of the child.