The horrifying story of Asifa Bano, an 8-year-old Muslim girl who was gang raped and murdered in January, has been making headlines this week, following massive protests - in support of the accused - in the country. 

Bano's body was found in a forest in January near Kathua city, leading to the arrest of eight men involved in the crime, according to the BBC.

The men included a "retired government official, four police officers and a juvenile."

The girl was reported to have been drugged, kidnapped, and was eventually left hidden in a temple while taking the family's horses to graze.

Soon after the arrests were made public, right-wing groups in the Hindu-majority city of Jammu began protesting the decision. All those arrested are of Hindu origin, whereas Bano belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe.

"They are against our religion,’" said Bimla Devi, one of the protesters, according to The New York Times.

"If the accused men aren’t released we will burn ourselves.’"

The support of such violence against women, children, and humanity has sparked outrage in the country and on Twitter, with many calling for #JusticeforAsifa as a result.


According to The New York Times, physical evidence and DNA tests have linked the accused to Bano's murder.

Members of the Hindi nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also attempted to have the case be handled by the Central Bureau of Investigation, rather than the state police.

"Many suspect this is an attempt to win leniency for the accused, noting that the bureau is an arm of the central government, which the Bharatiya Janata Party controls," as reported by The New York Times.

"It is not 'nationalism' ... it is perversion"

"A crime against humanity"

"Those who attempt to justify the gang rape of an 8-year-old girl on the basis of her religion cannot be called human beings"

"If we can't stand up now for this 8-year-old girl regardless of our gender, caste, color or religion then we don't stand for anything in this world"

"Our hearts burn with tears & rage"

"If you don't feel her terror, you are not human"

"This has to stop"

Rape culture in India

In 2016 "official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded were against women," according to the AFP.

According to the BBC, India recorded over 36,000 rape cases in 2014.

In some cases, the victims have committed suicide following the violence.

In 2013, an Indian girl committed suicide over an alleged gang rape. The incident came days after protests took over the streets in the country over the horrifying gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi. 

The protests were calling out India's rape laws and handling of cases of sexual assault.

According to Human Rights Watch, women and girls who survive rape and other forms of sexual assault "often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals."