A three-year-old girl found dead in a field in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday morning was raped and strangled, the police said today. This is the third rape-murder of a minor in the district in 20 days.
The girl had been missing since Wednesday. Her body was found just half a kilometre from her home with injuries. A man from her village, Lekhram, has been arrested based on her father's complaint.
Yesterday, the police had called it murder. Sexual assault was confirmed by the autopsy, said the police.
The child's father alleges that Lekhram kidnapped and killed his daughter because of an old rivalry.
The accused man was caught in an encounter, according to the police, which had formed four teams to look for him.
Lakhimpur Kheri district has been in the news after a 17-year-old girl, who had left home to fill a scholarship application, was found dead outside her village. She was allegedly raped and murdered.
Her mutilated body was found near a dry pond around 200 metres from her village.
Before this, a 13-year-old girl was raped and strangled in the same district.
Police said the girl had gone to her fields in the afternoon and when she did not return home, her family started looking for her. She was found dead in a sugarcane field.
The incidents have sparked public outrage with the Congress and the Samajwadi Party attacking the BJP government of Yogi Adityanath over what they call a worsening law and order situation.
"Even after so many incidents our 'tough' Chief Minister has not fixed responsibility. A dying system and a helpless Chief Minister," tweeted state Congress Chief Ajay Kumar Lalu.
Facing a spurt in crimes against women, especially minors, the state government recently set up a Women and Child Safety Organization headed by a senior police officer to handle these case and ensure the safety of women and children.