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The girl was kidnapped, drugged and repeatedly raped over five days - including inside a Hindu temple - before being strangled and beaten with a rock.

On Friday, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, was arrested in connection with a rape case involving a 17-year-old girl.

The 8-year-old Muslim girl, Asifa, was found dead in a Hindu-dominated area of Jammu and Kashmir state in January. In particular the protests by Hindu activists against the arrest of the men accused of raping the eight-year-old in Kashmir have deepened unease that the government is not doing enough to rein in Hindu fringe groups that have been emboldened under BJP rule. After Monday's initial hearing in Srinagar, the judge adjourned the case until April 28 while the Supreme Court considers a request from the lawyer representing the victim's family to have trial held elsewhere due to fears for her safety.

The victim came from a nomadic Muslim community of shepherds, while her alleged attackers are Hindu men, including a local political fixer.

"I have been deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children", Ms Gandhi said on Twitter.

The Surat incident took place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, where he was Chief Minister from 2001 until he took national office in 2014.

In a freaky sequence of events, the girl's father died in police custody last week, fanning suspicion that Sengar was somehow involved. On Monday, Gandhi tweeted that there had been almost 20,000 child rapes in India in 2016, and urged Modi to fast-track prosecutions "if he is serious about providing "justice for our daughters".




A lawmaker from India's ruling party has been arrested in connection with the rape of a teenager, police say, after days of protests by activists accusing authorities of failing to investigate the case and other attacks.

"They have resigned because of the way the entire thing has been presented across the country".

In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi triggered massive protests by hundreds of thousands to demand stricter rape laws in the country.

But high numbers of assaults persist, with 40,000 rape cases reported every year. The chief of United Nations added that hope the perpetrators will be brought to justice. The girl is around 11 years old. Though the rape and killing of the girl in Kashmir had been known about for months, the public backlash erupted after the charge sheet giving gruesome details of the crime was finally filed last week.

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi held a candlelit vigil at midnight on Thursday at India Gate in New Delhi, the same site where thousands of people demonstrated in 2012 against a brutal gang-rape in the capital.

Placards at the protest marches with messages like "she was a child, a daughter and a human and not an instrument for your bigotry", "patriarchy kills", "can't believe I still have to protest in 2018", "silence is no longer an option", "no religion for rapists they are criminals" and "break the silence and end brutality", to name a few, summed up the anger and emotions of Indians living under the shadow of rape and violence.

"The body was recovered on April 6 by the side of a highway and, according to a post-mortem report, the girl was sexually assaulted and murdered on April 5", Surat's police commissioner, Satish Sharma, told Reuters.


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