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Girl, 9, is 'gang-raped', murdered and set on fire while fetching water, sparking protests in India

The death of a nine-year-old girl after she was allegedly gang-raped, murdered, and set on fire while fetching water for her parents has sparked four days of protests in India. 

The girl, who has not been named, was sent by her mother to fetch water from the nearby crematorium in New Delhi on Sunday evening. 

An hour later, she was found dead with wet clothes, a bloodied nose, bruised hands and arms, and blue lips, on the crematorium floor. 

A Hindu priest and three accomplices have been accused of raping, killing, and forcibly cremating the nine-year-old girl.

The death of a nine-year-old girl after she was allegedly gang-raped, murdered, and set on fire while fetching water for her parents has sparked four days of protests in India

A Hindu priest and three accomplices have been accused of raping, killing, and forcibly cremating the nine-year-old girl in an incident which has sparked protests in New Delhi

Protesters this week have burned effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of failing to condemn the alleged rape

The body was discovered by her mother who went searching for her only child after she failed to return more than an hour after she was sent to fetch water. 

The mother told the BBC she found her daughter's body on the crematorium floor but was not allowed to take it away. 

Three suspects, including a Hindu priest, closed the gates and refused to let her leave, she said. 

 The trio told her not to phone the police, claiming officers would 'steal her organs and sell them' and also demand an autopsy. 

Instead, they forcibly cremated the corpse. 

The girl's father and around 150 villagers put out the pyre, but only managed to save the girl's legs - meaning police may never be able to prove if she was raped.      

The girl was a member of the Dalit class, formerly known as the untouchables, and made a living begging outside a Sufi Muslim shrine. 

The alleged rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in New Delhi has been branded a caste crime by members of her community, sparking four days of protests

Activists of the Bheem Army stage a candle march protest against alleged rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl

The alleged rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl while she was fetching water for her parents on Sunday has sparked four days of protests in India

The alleged gang rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in New Delhi has sparked four days of protests in the Indian capital

Hundreds of women demonstrated in New Delhi on Sunday evening after a nine-year-old girl was allegedly raped, murder, and forcibly cremated 

The alleged rape has sparked widespread anger in India.

Protesters this week burned effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of failing to condemn the alleged rape. 

Demonstrators also burned the likeness of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal outside the Nangal crematorium. He visited the family this week and has reportedly offered to ensure justice is served. 

Hundreds of protesters have demanded the suspects face the death penalty and called for several police officers to be suspended for allegedly harassing the family.  

Members of the Dalit community in New Delhi have repeatedly expressed outrage online and branded the incident a 'caste crime' because the accused priest is an upper-caste Brahmin. 

Others have  participated in mass rallies calling for justice.  

Hundreds of protesters have demanded the suspects face the death penalty and called for several police officers to be suspended for allegedly harassing the family

The alleged rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in New Delhi has been branded a caste crime by members of her community, sparking four days of protests 

Protesters carry an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to burn at a demonstration on Sunday after he was accused of failing to condemn the alleged rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl

 A Hindu priest and three accomplices have been accused of raping, killing, and forcibly cremating the nine-year-old girl in an incident which has sparked protests in New Delhi

An average of nearly 90 rapes were reported in India every day last year, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau

Sunday's alleged sex attack is just the latest to be reported in India, where a woman or girl is raped every 15 minutes according to federal data

Sunday's alleged sex attack is just the latest to be reported in India, where a woman or girl is raped every 15 minutes according to federal data.

India's 200 million low-caste Dalits have long faced discrimination, and campaigners say attacks have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

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 due to social stigma and a lack of faith in police and judicial authorities.  

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