Outrage across India after 8-year-old girl raped and murdered

Asifa Bano, 8, was raped and murdered in India.
Asifa Bano, 8, was raped and murdered in India. Photo credit: File

The rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl has sparked outrage in India.

Asifa Bano disappeared on January 10 while grazing her horses in a meadow in Kathua, a city in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Her mutilated body was found in a nearby forest a week later.

On Wednesday (local time) a document was released by the Jammu and Kashmir state police detailing the charges that have been laid in the case. It reveals that the horrendous crime was the result of a religious and political conflict over land.

Asifa belonged to the Bakarwal, a group of nomadic Sunni Muslim shepherds who have started to settle permanently in some areas, angering the local Hindu population who already lived there.

According to the police charge sheet, Asifa's attackers kidnapped her in order to drive her family out of Kathua. She was taken to a nearby Hindu temple where she was drugged, tortured and gang-raped before being strangled and beaten to death.

Four of the six men who were arrested for Asifa's rape and murder were police officers, the BBC reports, one of whom allegedly helped search for the girl after she was reported missing.

Another suspect was a retired government official. They all belonged to the local Hindu community that has been locked in a land dispute with the Bakarwal.

Thousands of members of the radical right-wing 'Hindu Unity Platform' have protested the arrests, demanding that police release the men. On Monday (local time), Hindu lawyers tried to physically stop police from filing their investigation report in court, claiming the men had been framed.

The gruesome case provoked outrage from many Indians on social media, some of whom compared it to the 2012 rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi.

Swati Maliwal, chief of Delhi Commission for Women, has announced she will fast indefinitely to demand safety for woman and children in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a statement about Asifa's murder on Friday (local time).

"I want to assure the country that no culprit will be spared, complete justice will be done," he said. "Our daughters will definitely get justice."

Newshub.