File picture: Pixabay

New Delhi - A 3-year-old girl was allegedly raped and beheaded after she was kidnapped from a railway platform in India's eastern state of Jharkhand, police said Thursday.

Three men - two believed to have sexually assaulted and killed the girl and a third who is the mother's partner - were arrested late Tuesday, railway police officer Ehtesham Waquarib said.

The girl was sleeping with her mother at the Tatanagar railway station in Jamshedpur city last Friday when she went missing. A police complaint was filed at the time.

CCTV footage showed a man walking away with a sleeping child in his arms, helping the police to identify the suspects.

"We arrested two suspects in their thirties, who led us to the mutilated body of the child, which was found in a bag at an isolated place. They confessed to raping, strangling and beheading the child," Waquarib said.

One of the suspects recently served a sentence for kidnapping a child and attempting to kill her in 2015, the police said.

The mother told the police she suspected her partner of involvement in the crime and his role is being investigated, police said.

Sniffer dogs were being used to find the child's head which is still missing, he added.

This is the latest in the series of brutal incidents of rape and sexual violence reported from India.

India has been in the spotlight in recent years over incidents of sexual violence against women. In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi led to massive public outcry and tougher laws.

dpa