SRINAGAR, India – An Indian court has convicted six people of raping, killing and destroying evidence involving an 8-year-old girl belonging to a Muslim community of nomadic herders that triggered strong protests in the Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Judge Tejwinder Singh acquitted one accused for lack of evidence and is expected to sentence the six later Monday. They face the death penalty.
The girl was grazing her family’s ponies in the forests of the Himalayan foothills when she was kidnapped in January last year. Her raped and mutilated body was found in the woods a week later.
Police say the attack had been planned to terrify the Bakarwals, a Muslim community of nomadic herders, into leaving the area.
Conflict had been brewing in recent years between Muslim nomads and local Hindus over land disputes.