5-year-old rape victim improving: Delhi hospital

Anti-rape protesters staged fresh rallies Sunday sparked by the brutal rape of an abducted five-year-old Indian girl in New Delhi, as doctors said the victim was showing signs of "improvement".

A team of doctors at New Delhi's top government hospital are treating the child and officials said that she was in "stable condition".

The attack on the five-year-old and the following public revulsion was reminiscent of the horrifying gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus last December, who died from her injuries.

That case led to weeks of protests and a national debate over the status of women in India, putting the spotlight on the high incidence of sexual violence.

The five-year-old victim was being treated for serious internal injuries sustained during a more than 40-hour ordeal, allegedly at the hands of a garment worker who was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of carrying out the attack.

"She is in stable condition and showing signs of improvement," hospital medical superintendent D.K. Sharma told AFP.

"She is conscious and talking to her parents, doctors and nurses and it can be said there is no danger to her life now," he added.

Newspapers highlighted the rape of the child on their front pages for the second day on Sunday.

"Seething Delhi erupts in protests," Sunday Pioneer said in a headline.

Demonstrators carrying flags and posters reached the city's main police headquarters to protest, an AFP photographer reported from the site.

Another group of protesters were outside the hospital where she is under round-the-clock observation, witnesses said.

The 22-year-old suspect, Manoj Kumar, described by media reports as a tenant in the child's house, was apprehended after he fled to his in-laws' home in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

Police accused Kumar of repeatedly attacking the child inside a locked room after kidnapping her Monday in a lower middle-class area of the New Delhi.