A 12-year-old girl in India was allegedly kidnapped while on her way to school and raped at knife point on Tuesday (15 August), the country's Independence Day.
Police said the "traumatised girl" was raped around 8.15am (2.15pm BST), as she walked to school in Chandigarh, the capital of the northern state of Punjab. She "entered the park from the back gate" when she was confronted by a man armed with a knife, according to police.
The child told her parents about the attack as soon as she got home and was taken to the hospital for a medical examination.
Police are checking CCTV for clues and have launched an investigation.
The horrific crime happened just one day after women in Chandigarh held a candlelight march demanding that police and the government ensure their safety in public places.
Hundreds of women joined the 'Reclaim the Streets' march after DJ Varnika Kundu wrote about her chilling ordeal being chased through the streets of Chandigarh by two men, including the son of a prominent Indian politician.
Kundu said she was "chased and almost kidnapped" and that she was "not lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere" only because police quickly responded to her call.
After Kundu's Facebook post about the incident went viral, a senior Indian politician said she should not have been out so late and blamed the DJ for what had happened.
His comments sparked outrage and prompted women around India to share pictures of themselves enjoying a night out along with the caption #AintnoCinderella.
Several politicians allegedly tried to get police to drop the complaint brought by Kundu, according to local media. The only reason police did not succumb to that pressure is because Kundu's father is a senior bureaucrat, Aruna Kashyap, senior counsel for women's rights at Human Rights Watch, told IBTimes UK.
"Every politician who attempted to interfere with police discharging their duties in Kundu's case should face disciplinary and criminal penalties. This is only way the rot in the criminal justice system can be begin to be cleaned," she said.
The Indian government promised to tackle the pervasive issue of sexual violence following the brutal gang rape of 23-year-old student Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012, but activists say more must be done to hold rapists accountable and encourage victims to come forward, without fearing retribution or blame.
Kashyap called on Indian authorities to support initiatives focused on creating safe public spaces for women and girls and said that so far the government had "done little to take on this challenge".
She added that it was vital that sex education classes become mandatory at all schools.
"Teaching boys and men about consent, power, gender equality, love, consensual sex and reproductive choices is critical to building a society that understands and respects women's bodies," Kashyap said.