Suspected rape and killing of Indian girl triggers protests

NEW DELHI (AP) — Angry villagers in the Indian capital held a protest yesterday outside a crematorium where they said a nine-year-old girl was raped and killed earlier this week.

The protesters, sitting on a makeshift stage, held placards demanding justice for the girl, who lived nearby. The case has revived outrage over the number of gruesome sexual crimes against women in India as well the treatment of those on the lowest rung of the country’s rigid caste system, from which the girl hailed.

Four men suspected in the crime, all of them workers at the crematorium, have been arrested but have yet to be charged, said police officer Ingit Pratap Singh.

Police said the girl told her mother on Sunday that she was going to get water at a tap at the crematorium in southwest New Delhi.

About 30 minutes later, police said, the crematorium’s priest called the mother, who was told that her daughter had been electrocuted.

Tina Verma, 27, a social activist, holds a placard which reads, ‘Hang the killers of 9-year old child’ at the demonstration site. PHOTO: AP

The mother was shown her daughter’s body, which the suspects then cremated without calling authorities, police said.

The mother said she saw her daughter’s body on the floor of the crematorium with bruises all over. She said the priest and three other men at the crematorium told her not to call the police and threatened her.

The mother cannot be named due to Indian law that prohibits releasing information that could identify the victims of sexual crimes.

Villagers said some of the girl’s remains were saved from the crematorium.

Singh said the extent of the cremation meant a post-mortem examination was unable to establish whether the girl was raped or how she was killed.