Men charged with rape, murder of 9yo
India has been plunged into mourning after a young girl was gang-raped and killed by a pack of four men, including a priest.
Four men – including a Hindu priest – have been charged with rape and murder over a horrifying attack on a nine-year-old girl that sent shockwaves through the country.
According to local media, the vile crime took place on August 1, when the unnamed child went to fetch water from a crematorium in the capital city of Delhi.
There, she was allegedly ambushed by the group, including the priest and three crematorium employees, who later told her mother the child had been electrocuted and convinced her to allow the body to be cremated.
Deputy commissioner of police (southwest) Ingit Pratap Singh told the Hindustan Times the men initially asked the girl’s mother not to involve authorities.
“They told her that the police will register a case and the body will be sent for an autopsy, during which doctors will remove her vital organs and sell them. The four then cremated the body,” DCP Singh told the publication.
But their alleged behaviour raised suspicions, and hundreds of residents of the girl’s village stormed the crematorium and remained there in protest overnight, demanding the men be charged with rape and murder.
DCP Singh also told CNN the girl belonged to the Dalit community, which is the lowest of the nation’s caste-based hierarchy, with female members facing disproportionate levels of violence.
If the men are found guilty, they could face the death penalty – a punishment apparently supported by the girl’s grieving family, according to India’s The Print, with the girl’s mother reportedly saying that “only the death penalty through a fast track court” would bring justice for her daughter.
The crime sparked mass protests across the nation spanning multiple days, with protesters calling on authorities to do more to stop violence against girls and women and to punish those responsible.
Arvind Kejriwal, who fronts Delhi’s provincial governments took to Twitter to explain he had ordered a review of the case and to call for justice.
“Top lawyers will be engaged to get the culprits punished,” Mr Kejriwal posted online.
“Central government should take strict steps to improve law and order in Delhi, we will co-operate fully.”