In yet another shocking reminder of the routine violence suffered by women, an eight-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered in Bihar’s Saharsa district. The body was found in a canal on Tuesday morning, a day after she went missing from home.

The incident took place in the remote village of Belwara Punarwas, situated at a distance from the Kosi river. The child was from the Paswan community and belonged to a family of labourers. District hospital sources confirmed to The Hindu that the post mortem found evidence of rape.

“Around 6 p.m., my daughter had gone to my brother’s chicken coop to call him home,” the girl’s father told The Hindu on the phone.

“The place is located around half-a-kilometre from our house. She gave the message to him and started to return home. My brother told her to go ahead and that he would follow suit. The pathway to the coop is a proper road with houses on either side. I don’t know what happened on the way,” he said.

The police have so far registered a case of rape, murder and causing disappearance of evidence against unknown persons. Saharsa SP Ajit Kumar Satyarthi told The Hindu that the police were “sure” the crime has been committed by someone from the village itself.

“We suspect rape. Since this is an inside job, she could have been murdered lest she named her assaulter,” Mr. Satyarthi said.

The girl’s mother was inconsolable. “She ate, she went out; she was all of eight,” cried her mother on the phone.

“I was born in this village and grew up here. But I have never witnessed such an incident. She was not a grown woman; she was just a child. She was the oldest of my four children,” the father said.

The victim’s uncle said no top official had come to visit the family. “Only one inspector came to investigate. If someone is raped in Delhi, the nation is outraged. If someone is raped here, no one knows about it.”