Indian media gather around a police vehicle carrying seven men accused of the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl (NARINDER NANU)

Pathankot (India) (AFP) – Six men were convicted on Monday over the notorious 2018 gang rape and murder in India of a young girl from a Muslim nomadic tribe that provoked horror and stoked inter-religious tensions.

Sexual violence, including against children, is rife in India and outrage over the so-called Kathua case contributed to the government imposing the death penalty for child rapists.

According to the charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl was abducted and taken to a village in the Kathua district of the northern Indian region of Jammu on January 10 last year.

In an ordeal lasting five days, she was sedated and held in a Hindu temple, repeatedly raped over five days and then strangled and beaten to death.

The six Hindu men were due to be sentenced later, prosecution lawyer Mubeen Farooqui told reporters outside the court in Pathankot, in Punjab state.

They face the death penalty with a minimum of life imprisonment. A seventh man was acquitted while an eighth person, who was underage, faces a separate trial.

The case sparked two days of violent protests in Jammu and demonstrations in several other places across India, including in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Jammu and Kashmir is India’s only Muslim-majority state, but the southern Jammu region — where the rape and murder took place — is Hindu-dominated.

On Monday hundreds of police were on duty in Pathankot for the trial. Wary of new protests, security was also heavy in Kathua town and surrounding Muslim areas.

Disclaimer: Validity of the above story is for 7 Days from original date of publishing. Source: AFP.