India rape protest
Attack took place in Uttar Pradesh, where two teenage girls were gang raped and hanged from a mango tree Reuters

Police in the north India state of Uttar Pradesh are trying to identify a woman who was gang raped and strangled to death, before being burnt with acid in an alleged attempt to disguise her identity.

The body of a 22-year-old woman was discovered on Saturday in a field in the village of Aithpura, 60 miles from where two girls were gang raped and hung from a tree last week.

According to Press Trust of India news agency, a post-mortem examination released on Monday revealed the woman had been made to drink acid and then strangled. Her face had later been mutilated by acid and petrol, as reported by the Independent.

Mamta Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, told Asian News International in India: "This is an extremely unfortunate incident. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister has to take preventative steps. I will summon the director general of police and ask him what action they have taken and we will take strict action for sure."

J Ravindra Gaur, the senior sub-inspector of police, said there was a possibility the victim came from the area of Uttarakhand so a team has been dispatched there for investigation.

UP gangrape
The mothers of gang-rape victims stand with their faces covered in front of the tree where the bodies of the two girls were found hanging Getty

Other reports have suggested the incident could be an honor killing case or could be related to the flesh trade.

News of the attack comes just days after the attack on two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh, who were seized and sexually assaulted after they went into fields to relieve themselves as they had no toilet in their home.

The girls, who belonged to the Dalit caste, were hung from a mango tree with their own scarves in Katra village.

Police have detained five people, including two policemen, in connection with the attacks on the two girls.

Relatives of the two girls said that when the girls disappeared, the police refused to investigate the case as the victims were of a low-caste status. Many have taken to the streets to protest against police inaction on rape cases.

On Monday, police fired water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters, many of whom were women, outside the office of state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Since the well-publicised gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi in 2012, India has tightened its anti-rape laws. Widespread protests after the incident led to the crime being punishable by death, yet a rape is committed roughly every 22 minutes in the country.

During India's recent election campaign, the head of the Samajwadi campaign sparked controversy by telling an election rally that he opposed the execution of gang rapists.

"Boys will be boys," Mulayam Singh Yadav said. "They make mistakes."