India in shock over gang rape, murder of 8-year-old

2018-04-13 21:17
Indian demonstrators gather at the India Gate monument for a late night candlelight vigil in protest over the gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl, in New Delhi. (AFP)

Indian demonstrators gather at the India Gate monument for a late night candlelight vigil in protest over the gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl, in New Delhi. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The brutal gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in India has triggered nationwide outrage, inflamed communal tensions and shone a fresh critical light on the prevalence of sexual crimes.

The killing has sent out the sort of shockwaves that shook the country after the equally horrific gang rape of a Delhi student on a bus in 2012 that made headlines around the world.

That case saw India Gate in New Delhi become the focus of massive public protests, and opposition leader Rahul Gandhi led a candlelight march to the same monument midnight on Thursday to highlight what he called the "unimaginable brutality" of the latest killing.

The young girl, whose identity was protected by a court order on Friday, was murdered in January in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the police charge sheet, she was abducted by a school dropout, a minor, and an accomplice who forced her to take sedatives while keeping her captive in a shed and then a Hindu temple for five days.

While in captivity, she was repeatedly raped by the juvenile and different men, including a police constable.

She was finally strangled and beaten with a stone, and her body was discovered out in the open in a wooded area.

Divided community

"Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight," Gandhi said at the midnight rally. "India simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does," he said.

The victim was from a nomadic Muslim family and all the eight people arrested in the case so far are Hindus.

Jammu and Kashmir is India's only Muslim majority state, but the Jammu region in the south, where the murder took place, is Hindu dominated.

The case has fuelled the sharp communal divide in the region, with Muslim activists condemning what they see as a crime against their community and some Hindu groups arguing that the accused had been unfairly charged.

At one point, a crowd of Hindu lawyers tried to stop police from entering a court to file charges against the accused men.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, head of the Hindu nationalist government, has yet to comment on the case, but the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, whose party is aligned with Modi's, said the murder had "shamed humanity".

High profile names from the world of cinema and cricket have also voiced outrage over the crime in a country were nearly 40 000 rape cases are reported every year, according to official figures.

"What is happening to the world we live in???" Bollywood star Anushka Sharma, who is married to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, wrote on Twitter.

"These people should be given the most severe punishment there is! Where are we heading as humanity? Shaken to my core," she said.

Cricketer Gautam Gambhir blamed India's "stinking systems" for what some have described as a rape epidemic.

"Come on 'Mr System', show us if you have the balls to punish the perpetrators, I challenge you," he tweeted.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    india

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.