Four Men Charged With Rape and Murder of 9-Year-Old Girl in India

Four men, including a Hindu priest, have been charged with the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl in the Indian capital Delhi, police said Saturday.

The men, who were arrested on Aug. 2, have been formally charged with rape, murder, and destruction of evidence, among other crimes, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement. They could face the death penalty if found guilty.

The victim was allegedly gang-raped and killed on Aug. 1 in a southwestern district of the Indian capital, after she had gone to fetch water from a crematorium, senior police official Ingit Pratap Singh told CNN.

The crematorium’s priest had called the victim’s mother and showed her the body of her dead child, Singh said, citing the mother’s statement. The priest allegedly told the mother her daughter had been electrocuted, he added.

The priest and three other crematorium employees convinced the mother to cremate the body, claiming it would be a hassle to involve the police, Singh said. The girl’s body was cremated, with her parents present, he added.

But the incident caused uproar in the victim’s village, where about 200 villagers gathered that night, demanding justice. Police then arrested the four men accused of the girl’s murder, according to Singh.

Days of protests followed in New Delhi as hundreds of protesters gathered at the victim’s village, demanding accountability for the girl’s death.

The case will be heard in a district court on Tuesday and will later be sent to a fast track court, according to the Home Affairs Ministry’s statement.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report