A five-year-old Indian girl was allegedly raped and then stoned to death by her attackers who feared she would tell the police.
The latest horrifying sex attack in the country is reported to have happened in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, police said on Friday.
Her death comes amid growing anger in the country where sexual violence against woman is common, with an average of 90 rapes being reported daily in 2019.
The young girl went missing on Thursday from the small village of Kharkhari in the Dhenkanal district.
Her body was recovered from a nearby forest by searching locals on Friday.
Her family have alleged that she was raped and then stoned to death by her attackers, whose identities are yet to be reported.
A police officer from the region – Suprasanna Mallick – said that a case has been opened into the girl’s death based on the family’s First Information Report (FIR), and that an investigation is on-going.
India is one of the world’s most dangerous places for women, with a rape occurring on average every 15 minutes based on federal data.
In early October, a six-year-old rape victim has died in hospital ten days after being attacked, sparking furious protests in India which saw her family lay the girl’s body in the street.
The girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her cousin while she was at home in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state.
She was being treated at a hospital in Delhi but succumbed to her injuries on October 6.
Her death followed widespread demonstrations over the death of a 19-year-old woman following an alleged gang-rape in September.
In December 2012, the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman sparked nationwide outrage and led to a tough new anti-rape law.
An average of nearly 90 rapes were reported in India every day last year, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.
India’s 200 million low-caste Dalits have long faced discrimination, and campaigners say attacks have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.