The body of a nine-year-old girl was recovered on Thursday from the staircase of a residential building in Kolkata, sparking protests by locals, who claimed that the "police did not take action when the family had reported that she was missing".
The girl, who was found lying in a pool of blood on the staircase that led to the terrace of the multi-storey building, was "first sexually abused and then killed", a senior police officer said.
Preliminary investigations suggest that the victim, who went missing on Wednesday evening, was sexually abused, thrashed, strangled before her throat was slit by a person or a group of persons," the officer said.
A team of officers from Jorabagan police station and a team of senior police official Murlidhar Sharma rushed to the area in the northern part of the city, following the "discovery of the body" by locals, he said.
"It seems that the culprits were known to the minor victim... that is why they killed her after abuse," he said.
The officials of the Kolkata Police spotted a couple of teeth and a few hair strands on the staircase where the minor's body was found.
A blood-stained knife, suspected to be the murder weapon, was found from a drain, just beside the multi-storey building, the senior officer said.
"Going by the circumstantial evidence, we suspect that the culprit or the culprits knew the locality well. We are probing the matter. Sniffer dogs have been employed to help with the probe," he stated.
Locals, alleging police inaction, took to the streets during the day, seeking justice for the girl.
"The family had approached the police when the girl went missing last evening. But they did not cooperate. Had they searched the locality, the girl could have been saved. Their casual attitude is responsible for this," one of the locals alleged.
Officials are talking to local children, who were seen playing with her earlier on Wednesday, he stated.
A team of forensic experts have collected samples from the site of the incident, the officer said, adding that the minor's body has been sent for post mortem.