Four men including a Hindu priest are charged with raping and murdering a nine-year-old girl

Four men including a Hindu priest are charged with raping and murdering a nine-year-old girl

Four men, including a Hindu priest, have been charged with raping and murdering a nine-year-old girl in India.

The girl, who has not been named, was sent by her mother to fetch water from the nearby crematorium in New Delhi on August 1, when she was attacked.

The men, who were arrested on August 2, have been formally charged with rape, murder, and destruction of evidence, among other crimes.

According to CNN, the Ministry of Home Affairs said they could face the death penalty if found guilty.

The girl was found dead with wet clothes, a bloodied nose, bruised hands and arms, and blue lips, on the crematorium floor. Her body was discovered by her mother who went searching for her only child after she failed to return more than an hour after she was sent to fetch water.

The mother told the BBC she found her daughter's body on the crematorium floor but was not allowed to take it away.

Three suspects, including a Hindu priest, closed the gates and refused to let her leave, she said.

The trio told her not to phone the police, claiming officers would 'steal her organs and sell them' and also demand an autopsy. Instead, they forcibly cremated the corpse.

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According to reports, the girl's father and around 150 villagers who rushed to the scene, only managed to save the girl's legs meaning police may never be able to prove if she was raped.

The alleged rape has sparked widespread anger in India.

Protesters this week burned effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of failing to condemn the alleged rape. The demonstrators also burned the likeness of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal outside the Nangal crematorium.

The protesters are demanding the suspects face the death penalty and have called for several police officers to be suspended for allegedly harassing the family.

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