NEW DELHI: In early January, Asifa Bano, an 8-year-old girl in a purple dress, was grazing her horses in a meadow in Kashmir when a man beckoned her into a forest. She followed.
According to police, he grabbed her by the neck and forced her to take sleeping pills. With the help of a friend, they say, he dragged her to a nearby temple and locked her inside.
For the next three days, police say, the two men and at least one other raped her, again and again. Suspects told investigators that their motive had been to drive Asifa's nomadic community out of the area. In the end, she was strangled, after one of the men allegedly insisted on raping her one last time.
Days later, Asifa's crumpled body was found in the forest, in the same purple dress, now smeared with blood.
Eight men have been arrested in connection with the case, and several have confessed, according to police in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where the killing took place. Two of the accused are police officers said to have accepted thousands of dollars to cover up the crime. One of the arrested suspects said he was 15, though police officers, based on a medical examination, believe he is at least 19.