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Ire at response to 6-year-old’s killing

RESIDENTS of Uklana, a village in India’s Haryana state bordering New Delhi, have blocked roads and shuttered shops in protest at the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl.

The girl, from a Dalit (“untouchable” caste) family, appears to have been abducted from the “tent-like structure” she shared with her mother and sister, raped and tortured to death while her father, a rag-picker, was working in Delhi. Her body was found on Saturday and locals have given police till tomorrow morning to make an arrest or face an escalation of civil unrest.

District police superintendent Manisha Chaudhary said a special investigation team was looking into the crime and her cyber team was taking a record of all mobile phone activity in the area from the signal mast.

Protesters are angry at what they regard as insulting treatment of the child’s body, which was returned to her family in the blood-soaked cloth used to send it for autopsy, prompting a delay to the last rites. It exemplified too perceived indifference by the authorities to crimes against Dalits, whose treatment has worsened since Narendra Modi’s Hindu-supremacist BJP came to power three years ago, as has that of Muslims who are also often viewed as subhuman by “Hindutva” extremists.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded that Home Minister Rajnath Singh intervene in another Haryana case last year after local authorities took no action against members of the gau-raksha, a Hindu movement claiming to protect cows and punish people who eat them, who raped and murdered members of a landless Muslim family.

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