Seven-year-old girl in Chennai 'raped and burnt by neighbour who lured her with a puppy'

Public outcry in Chennai after seven-year-old girl is allegedly raped by neighbour

Public fury has been growing as a result of the incident (Stock photo)

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Indian city of Chennai has been engulfed by outrage after a seven-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered. 

It is claimed the girl was playing near her home when her neighbour - a man called Dhashyant - lured her over with a puppy. 

Dhashyant then allegedly subjected her to a sexual assault, gagging her to prevent her screaming. When the gag caused her to suffocate, he stuffed her into a bag, burnt it, and dumped the body on a local highway.  

The alarm was raised when her parents returned to the home in the Mugalivakkam section of the city to find her gone.

The police eventually tracked down the 32-year-old man in the apartment directly above the little girl's, and reports suggest he confessed to the crime. 

The incident comes at a hugely sensitive time for the people of Chennai, which is currently embroiled in a power struggle between a politician called VK Sasikala and the chief minister, O Panneerselvam.

India has also witnessed a number of anti-rape protests in recent years, ever since a female student was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012. Critics suggest women are not sufficiently protected from sexual assault and the Indian legal system has come under sustained attack from women's rights campaigners.