India stepmother arrested for 'ordering' gang rape of girl, 9

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Scrutiny of sexual violence has grown in India since 2012

Police have arrested six people in connection with the gang rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Officials said the girl's stepmother told her son, 14, and three others to rape the victim in her presence.

They said the girl's body was found on Sunday in a jungle in Baramulla district. She was tortured and her body was burnt with acid, they added.

The stepmother was allegedly upset as the girl was her father's favourite.

Police told BBC Urdu that the girl had been missing for 10 days before they found her body.

"It was found that the stepmother had been nursing a grudge against the second wife of her husband, and her children," the NDTV news website quoted senior police officer Mir Imtiyaz Hussain as saying.

Mr Hussain said the girl was killed with an axe after the gang rape. He said one of the accused, a 19-year-old man, mutilated her body.

This is the second deadly rape in Indian-administered Kashmir in recent months. In April, an eight-year-old Muslim girl from Kathua district was gang raped and murdered. It prompted national outrage after two ministers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attended a rally in support of the accused men, who are Hindu.

Scrutiny of sexual violence has grown in India since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in the capital Delhi.

The crime sparked days of protests and forced the government to introduce tougher anti-rape laws, including the death penalty.

However, attacks against women and children continue to be reported across the country.

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