NEW DELHI (AP) — A 5-year-old girl has died after being raped in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, an official said Tuesday, in the latest in a series of brutal attacks that have sparked outrage in the country.
The girl suffered cardiac arrest and died late Monday at a hospital in Nagpur city in neighboring Maharashtra state where she was being treated for injuries from the April 18 assault, said Bharat Yadav, collector for Seoni district, where the attack occurred.
Two men have been arrested in connection with the attack, he said.
The girl was lured by one of the men to a farm, where she was then raped by the other man, who was a friend of her parents, Yadav said. The parents, poor construction workers, were at work when the attack occurred, he said.
Ravi Manadiar, an administrator at the hospital, said the girl suffered a brain injury when the men tried to smother her cries and was in a coma from April 20 until she died.
In Nagpur, the mother of the girl was inconsolable.
"The court should give them the strictest punishment ever," she sobbed Tuesday.
"These men should be burned alive so that the whole world will see how such criminals ought to be punished," she said, wiping her tears with the corner of her sari.
About 40 supporters of the opposition Congress party held a rally in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, to protest what they said was a rise in violence against women in the state.
They burned an effigy of the state's top elected official, Chief Minister Shivraj SIngh Chouhan, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Earlier this month, another 5-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and tortured by two men who then abandoned her in a locked room in New Delhi. She is still recovering at a hospital in the city.
Police refused to register a case when the girl's parents reported that their daughter was missing. Hundreds of people protested outside police headquarters in New Delhi for three days, angry over allegations of police inaction and indifference to the parents' complaints.
Indian media have begun to report sexual assaults more aggressively since the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in December. That attack triggered outrage across India about the treatment of women in the country, and spurred the government to pass tougher laws for crimes against women, including the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rapes that lead to the victim's death.