The gang rape and murder of Asifa Bano, aged eight, in northern India enraged much of the country last week, who have reacted in anger as rightist Hindu groups protested the arrest of eight last week.
Bano, who was part of a Muslim nomadic tribe, was found dead in a forest on Jan. 17 in Indian administered Kashmir, near the city of Kahua, and resulted in the arrests of several part of a community involved in a land dispute with the nomads.
Outrage grew after two ministers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attended a rally in support of the accused men, with anger over the brutal murder and the ministers’ support picking up traction on Twitter.
The drugging, captivity, rape and murder of the young girl sparked protests in the capital New Delhi, with further demonstrations planned across the country during the weekend.
Thousands part of a radical Hindu group with links to the ruling party marched to demand the release of the men accused in the repeated rape and killing of the girl inside a Hindu temple.
Hundreds of Hindu lawyers have protested that the men, two of them police officers, are innocent, reported CBS News.
Swati Maliwal, chief of Delhi Commission for Women, said Friday she will begin an indefinite fast from to demand better security for women and children across the country, BBC News reported.
Local police said the attack on the girl was due to religious politics, with a group of men planning to scare away the nomads by simply kidnapping a girl.
Police say the attack had been planned for over a month as a way to terrify the Bakarwals, a Muslim community of nomadic herders, into leaving the area.
Conflict had been brewing in recent years between Muslim nomads and local Hindus over land disputes, CBS reported.
Hindus claimed the herders were encroaching on their lands, and there had been scuffles after nomadic girls had been allegedly harassed by Hindu men.
More details to follow. Image of protests