A seven-year-old girl attending a wedding ceremony was allegedly raped and strangulated to death here early on Tuesday by a man hired to set up tents on the occasion, police said.
Enraged over the incident, the victim's family blocked the Etah-Farrukhabad road while opposition parties slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for the "sudden spurt" in rape cases.
According to police, the incident took place at around 1.30 am near Mandi Samiti gate on the Aliganj road here where the girl had gone with her family to attend a wedding.
Sonu Jatav (19), who was given the task of putting up tents for the marriage ceremony lured the girl, raped her and subsequently killed her, Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaurasia said, adding that the man was in an inebriated state.
"After this, the accused fled the spot. The body of the girl was found in an under-construction house in the vicinity of the marriage venue. A rope was found tied around the neck of the girl," he said.
The girl was rushed to the district hospital where she was declared brought dead. The body of the girl has been sent for post-mortem examination.
"On the basis of complaints filed by family members, police have arrested Sonu Jatav," he said.
The SP also said, "A case has been registered against the accused for rape and murder of the girl. POCSO Act has also been slapped on the accused since the victim is a minor."
Angry family members of the minor girl blocked the Etah-Farrukhabad road demanding Rs 10 lakh as compensation.
Slamming the ruling BJP, Samajwadi Party spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said, "I simply fail to understand why the law and order in the state has deteriorated so much after the BJP has come to power in UP.
"On the one hand, the government claims that encounters are going on in the state and on the other, the crime ratio has surged in the state. The BJP had claimed that as soon as they come to power, the law and order of UP will improve. But, going by the sudden spurt of incidents, I feel that even the minor girls are not all safe in the state," he said.
The Congress too attacked the BJP government on the incident.
UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said, "It is an irony that criminal elements are roaming freely in the state, and UP has become virtually the number one state in the country going by a spurt of rapes and other crimes. Congress will soon launch a mass movement across the state to highlight the surge in crime in the state."
The BJP, however, said the party does not believe in saving criminal elements.
"Unlike the past state governments which used to shield criminal elements, the BJP believes in ensuring that swift action is initiated against criminals. The police in UP are working without any dabaav (pressure) and prabhaav (influence). FIRs which were not registered in the previous state governments' regime, are now being immediately registered.