A two-year-old girl battling for life in a New Delhi hospital has put the media spotlight on a sordid tale of child abuse and prostitution in the world’s biggest democracy.

Three weeks ago, a toddler with severe injuries was brought to the hospital by a teenager claiming to be her mother. The child, later named Falak (sky) by nurses, was in critical condition, with human bite marks on her body.

Her story is being played out on television screens across India, shocking viewers with images of a hapless baby hooked up to a ventilator. There are daily updates on her health, while television campaigns exhort the government to do more for abandoned children.

The case has also drawn attention to one of India‚Äôs most shameful truths — shocking levels of mistreatment and neglect of the girl child.

Media reports say the battered and bruised toddler had been abandoned by her biological mother and passed on several times before landing up in the arms of a teenager, herself a victim of abuse.