A 32-year-old man has been arrested for raping and murdering a five-year-old tribal girl by smashing her head with a stone in Maharashtra's Nagpur district on Sunday, police said on Monday.
The body of the girl, who was missing since December 6, was found on an agriculture farm in Linga village in Kalmeshwar taluka, some 25 km away from Nagpur.
"The arrested accused, Sanjay Puri, also works as a farm labourer like the parents of the girl in the farm," Superintendent of Police, Nagpur Rural, Rakesh Ola told PTI.
Sanjay Puri is a resident of Mohgaon village in the district.
Police said a case has been filed under sections 376 (Punishment for rape), 363 (Punishment for kidnapping), 302 (Punishment for murder) besides under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
A local court on Monday remanded the accused in police custody till December 13.
According to police, parents of the girl live on the one side of the agriculture farm while her grandmother on the another side, with a small path connecting both the houses.
"The girl went missing on Friday evening. Initially, her parents assumed that she might have gone to the house of her grandmother. However, they lodged a missing person complaint on Saturday afternoon after realising that she was not traceable," a police official had said.
Earlier on Monday, residents of Kalmeshwar organised rallies and called for a bandh to protest the brutal murder of the girl.
Main markets remained closed since morning after people took to streets to condemn the incident and demanded speedy justice.