In the latest case, the child's body was found on a building site in Uttar Pradesh state, as public outrage and protests grow over horrific crimes against women and minors.

People attend a protest against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, near Jammu, in Kolkata, India, on April 16, 2018.
People attend a protest against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, near Jammu, in Kolkata, India, on April 16, 2018. ( Reuters )

The body of a seven-year-old girl who had been raped and strangled was found in India on Tuesday, as the opposition Congress Party called for a so-called "black day" to stage protests over rising crimes against women.

Nationwide protests have been held in the past week over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir state.

In the latest case, the child's body was found on a building site early on Tuesday, hours after she went missing from a wedding in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh state.

TRT World's Staci Bivens reports.

Police said a neighbour who was putting up tents for the wedding had been detained on suspicion of luring the girl to the secluded building.

Etah superintendent of police Akhilesh Chaurasia told AFP the man fled but was arrested within hours.

"We have charged him with the rape and murder of the child. We are awaiting the post-mortem reports but prima facie it looks she was strangled to death," Chaurasia said.

TRT World spoke to New Delhi-based journalist Neha Poonia.

Series of sexual assaults

The authorities and police face mounting pressure over a series of sexual assaults, including the case in Indian-administered Kashmir.

That killing was in January but outrage has mounted as details of the rape emerged. Police say she was drugged and raped for days at a Hindu temple before being beaten to death.

Eight men, all Hindus, have been arrested for the crime.

Police said the accused targeted the girl because they wanted to drive her nomadic Muslim tribe out of the Hindu-dominated region.

Two Jammu and Kashmir state ministers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resigned after they attended rallies organised to defend the accused.

Some activists have accused the party of siding with Hindu groups demanding the release of the arrested men.

The BJP government has also faced criticism after one of its legislators in Uttar Pradesh state was arrested last week for the alleged rape of a 17-year-old woman.

The woman's father died in police custody as he agitated for the authorities to take up the case.

A 2014 UN report said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. 

Nearly 11,000 cases of child rape were reported in India in 2015 – an average of 30 per day – according to the National Crime Records Bureau's latest figures.

Girl raped and strangled in Pakistan

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Pakistan, a demonstration in the port city of Karachi on Tuesday over the disappearance and killing of a seven-year-old girl, left one person dead.

Police lobbed tear gas and fired gunshots in the air to try to disperse the angry crowd hurling stones at the officers. 

The violence left one protester dead, who had sustained a gunshot to the head.

The protesters accused police of negligence in the case.

Senior police officer Amir Farooq said the girl went missing two days ago and her body was found on Monday in bushes in a western Karachi neighborhood.

Pakistan's largest circulating English-language newspaper Dawn quoted a local police station commander as saying that the girl had been sexually assaulted before being strangled.

Source: AFP