A six-year-old girl was raped, strangled and left to die after being ambushed on her way to buy biscuits.
The child was attacked in Odisha’s Cuttack district on April 21 before being dumped in a school campus in her village of Jagannathpur.
She is now in a critical condition in hospital with serious injuries to her head, face, neck, chest and genitals.
Protesters in India demanding action against rapists and violence against women
A 25-year-old man from the same village has been arrested and charged with rape and attempted murder.
The attack comes as India’s cabinet approved the introduction of the death penalty for those convicted of raping a child under 12 years old.
Protests had previously been held across the country, with demonstrators demanding action against rapists and violence against women.
The rallies came after eight-year-old schoolgirl Asifa Bano was kidnapped, gang raped and murdered in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Days later another girl, also eight years old, was found raped and murdered after being kidnapped from a wedding in Etah, Uttar Pradesh state.
Two other sex attacks were reported in Odisha over the weekend, when the change to the penal code was introduced.
Demonstrators wave banners in support of harsher penalties for rapists. India’s cabinet has now introduced the death penalty for those convicted of raping a child under 12 years old
A four-year-old girl was raped near a river in Kendrapara district, allegedly by a schoolboy, and another child was kidnapped and raped in Kalahandi district.
In another attack in Chhattisgarh on April 18, an 11-year-old girl was raped and bludgeoned to death at a wedding.
Her attacker reportedly rejoined the celebrations covered in her blood.
Police said the most recent girl to be raped in Odisha had gone to buy biscuits on the day she was attacked and her family had been waiting for her to return home.
A power cut in their village prompted the worried relatives to search for the girl.
They found her lying naked and unconscious ‘with blood oozing from her head and mouth’, NDTV report.
The child was taken to a nearby nursing home then moved to Cuttack’s SCB Medical College and Hospital.
She is reportedly being treated by a team of at least 13 doctors from different departments.