India outrage spreads over rape of eight-year-old girl

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A woman reacts at a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl, in Kathua, near Jammu and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh state, in New Delhi, India April 12, 2018.

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People are angry over the brutal rape and murder of Asifa Bano

The brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year old girl has sparked outrage and anger across India.

The body of Asifa Bano, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was found in a forest on 17 January near Kathua city of Indian-administered Kashmir.

The story made national headlines this week after Hindu right-wing groups protested the arrest of the accused, who also belonged to a Hindu community.

People are angry that a gruesome crime has become a religious flashpoint.

Police have arrested eight men, including a retired government official, four police officers and a juvenile in connection with Asifa’s death.

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However, the arrests led to protests in Hindu-majority Jammu – lawyers tried to stop police entering the court to file a charge sheet and two ministers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attended a rally in support of the accused.

Anger over the support shown to the accused quickly gathered momentum on Twitter with the hashtags #Kathua and #justiceforAsifa trending since Thursday.

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Some people on Twitter have also compared Asifa’s death with the brutal gang rape and murder of a 22-year-old woman in Delhi, which led to huge protests and changes in India’s rape laws.

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Protests to continue

Rahul Gandhi, the chief of the main opposition Congress party, led a candlelight march in Delhi on Thursday night.

More protests have been planned to bring attention to brutal crimes against women in India.

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More protests have been planned across India to demand justice for Asifa

The chief of Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, has said she will be starting an indefinite fast from Friday to demand better security for women and children in the country.

Several other activists and women have also planned protests in Delhi and other parts of the country over the weekend.

Some people have also used the hashtag #Unnao to highlight another rape case in which a lawmaker is accused of raping a 16-year-old in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Kuldeep Singh Sengar, 50, from the ruling BJP allegedly raped the girl last year in Unnao district. But her case was registered only after she tried to kill herself last week in front of the chief minister’s home.

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