A teenage schoolgirl fought off two would-be rapists – including a 14-year-old boy – but was then doused in kerosene and burned to death by her attackers.
The 14-year-old suffered burns to 80 per cent of her body and later died in hospital following the disturbing attack in the district of Bemetara in central India.
Her parents were out at the time and found her clinging to life in a field after they returned home to find her missing and launched a search for her.
As she lay on her deathbed, the girl was able to give police the identities of the pair who allegedly attacked her on Monday while she was looking after her family’s goats just 200 yards from her family’s home.
Police arrested a 14-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man after the girl died of her injuries on Wednesday afternoon.
In a “dying declaration”, the girl told officers that the suspects dragged her to a corner of the field and attempted to rape her, and when she resisted they poured kerosene over her and set her on fire, the Times of India reported.
She named the suspects, who were her school seniors, the report added.
Police Superintendent Divyang Patel said: “The incident took place at Majgoan village when the girl was out in fields located about 200 metres away from her home.
“As there was no one home, the two accused approached her and tried to force themselves upon her.
“The girl was alert and she resisted with all her strength. The duo realised they failed raping her and, angered over the resistance as well as fearing she would report to police, they set her on fire.”
The suspects ran off, leaving the girl engulfed in flames.
Her parents later found her unconscious with severe burns and took her to a hospital in Raipur themselves.
Officers arrested the 14-year-old boy and 22-year-old man after the girl died on Wednesday.
Police Superintendent Vimal Bais told News18: “The two accused have been taken into custody and their interrogation was underway.
“Further action will be taken accordingly.”
Last month, the rape and murder of a four-year-old girl in a nearby village sparked a hunt for a suspect or suspects.
The girl went missing on the night of May 28 while sleeping outside her house with her grandfather.
She was bludgeoned to death and found dumped in a well in the village of Nowgong the next morning.
Instances of brutal rape and violence against the women who report it have given India the dismal reputation of being one of the worst places in the world to be female.
According to the most recent government data, a rape is reported every 15 minutes on average in India.
Women reported almost 34,000 rapes in 2018, up from 32,500 in 2017, and just over 85 per cent led to charges and 27 per cent to convictions, India Today reported.
Human rights groups say many attacks go unreported and crimes against women are often taken less seriously.
In recent years, a number of high profile incidents has sparked outrage and massive protests, and led to harsher punishments for offenders.
In 2018, India’s government began using the death penalty for people convicted of raping children under 12.
The law was brought in amid uproad over the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.
The government drew fire for failing to prevent crimes of rape and sexual assault, many involving children.