A 22-month-old toddler is recovering from surgery after she was raped by a 45-year-old man in India.
The girl, from a slum in East Delhi, was playing outside her house when neighbour Hare Ram Yadav, 45, a tailor, picked her up and took her to his house where he lived alone on May 7.
Once inside Yadav raped the girl for 15 minutes before returning her bloodied and crying to her parents' house.
Her 20-year-old mother was inside feeding her eight-month-old daughter at the time, while her father, 28, was working running a small tea stall.
Her mother heard her loud cries and rushed outside, thinking she had fallen while playing but was devastated to see her condition.
She said: 'She was howling and was not able to walk. I'd never seen her crying like that. It was definitely different.
'I held her in my arms and asked her what was wrong several times. I thought she needed the toilet and when I took her to the washroom she was bleeding profusely.
'I wiped her but the bleeding wouldn't stop. I was really scared and was screaming for help and then her father came home and we took her to hospital.'
Speaking about Yadav, the father added: 'I did not know him personally but I'd obviously seen him in the area. I thought he was a friendly and playful man.
'I was so shocked when I got to know something like this has happened with my daughter. He's an old man, and she's a toddler who's only just started walking, she can't even talk.'
The toddler was first taken to Jain Charitable Hospital where doctors confirmed she was raped and referred her to a government hospital.
She was admitted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, where police were called. On May 8 doctors decided to operate.
Dr Yogesh Kumar Sarin, pediatric surgeon, said: 'It was confirmed that she was sexually abused and due to the size of the toddler, she suffered injuries.
'She has been operated for her injuries and is currently doing fine. A few follow up appointments will determine if there will be any permanent damage.
'However, psychological trauma is more difficult to handle in such cases. We are giving counselling to the family to deal with the situation.'
Gandhi Nagar Police arrested Hare Ram on the same day and charged him with rape and sexual assault.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Nupur Prasad said: 'He has confessed his crimes and is now in police custody and sent to a different jail in West Delhi.'
The toddler's mother is now scared how her neighbours will react.
She said: 'Several people have already commented, some have said she'll never be able to conceive but I have to ignore their comments.
'They see us in a different way now, as if we have committed a crime, as if we're the criminals. It angers me.
'I tell them to show mercy on my daughter and direct the anger towards the man. A person who has gone through this humiliation can understand the pain we are in.'
She said the incident has changed her daughter and she's now wary of strangers.
'She's really scared of people now,' she added. 'She wouldn't even go to her father; she's petrified of men. She doesn't go out to play anymore.
'Earlier she loved playing outside but we won't let her now. Every night, her screams haunt me of the pain she must have suffered at that time.
'I could not even sleep for several nights until doctors said she'll be fine. Now I don't let her leave my side.'
The couple have decided not to tell her about the incident when she grows up and plan to move house to avoid people talking.
'I will never tell her what happened as it will shatter her soul. I do not want her to face the humiliation from society so we've now decided to move home.
'I will not be able to take it if someone taunts her or tries to ruin her life by reminding her of what happened.
'All we want is justice now. How could a man be so cruel towards children? I cannot even imagine the pain and trauma she must have suffered. She is such a small girl.
'If a man like him is not punished strictly, it will only encourage others. I hope the accused will be punished with the strictest punishment.'
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