In a shocking incident, a six-year-old girl in the north Indian state of Haryana was allegedly brutally raped and tortured to death by inserting a stick into her body on Saturday (9 December).
The girl's body was found in a pool of blood with injuries on her shoulders, waist and nose. The police said they were questioning several people in connection with the incident and have not ruled out gang-rape, India Today reported.
The girl's family had initially refused to cremate her until the killers were caught but eventually held the funeral after police assured them that they would arrest the culprits soon.
People have been horrified by the incident and are likening it to the 2012 Delhi gang-rape that had caused nationwide outrage.
The family of the girl was living in a makeshift tent and the child's father, a rag-picker, was away in Delhi.
The incident came to light after the family of the minor raised an alarm over not finding her at home in the morning.
"I slept at 9pm (3.30pm GMT) along with my children. When I woke up in the morning, my daughter wasn't there... I couldn't find her. I asked the neighbours, they said they haven't seen her. Then someone told me that your daughter has been killed. I got to know about this at 7am," the girl's mother told reporters.
The girl's mother had identified the body and it was sent to the civil hospital for a post-mortem examination, which confirmed rape and torture.
Dr Reetu Gupta, who conducted the post-mortem, said: "The victim died due to the torture perpetrated by inserting a stick into her private parts. The stick was inserted with force which not only caused serious injuries inside the uterus but also in the intestine."
After outrage from the family and people, the government has formed a special investigation team to catch the perpetrators.
Activists and political leaders from the district have also gathered in the village to protest.
According to a BBC report, the girl's family is demanding an inquiry by the federal police as they do not trust the local police.