New Delhi - A two-and-a-half-year-old girl was brutally killed in northern India following a family dispute over an unpaid loan, triggering widespread condemnation and outrage across the country, officials said Friday.
The toddler was kidnapped in Uttar Pradesh state's Aligarh district on May 31 and her body was found in a garbage dump near her home three days later, local police said.
Police are looking into torture allegations after her family alleged that she was strangled to death and her eyes gouged out, the IANS news agency reported.
Two men, both neighbours, who had a loan dispute with the victim's grandfather, were arrested for the murder on Tuesday, district police chief Akash Kulhary said.
One of the suspects had taken a loan of 50 000 rupees (around R10 800) from the girl's grandfather and still owed him 10 000 rupees over which the two had a fight, broadcaster NDTV reported.
Police said medical tests so far had ruled out rape. Five police officers have been suspended for negligence in handling the case.
Twinkle Sharma 3 Year Old Girl Brutally Raped And Murdered. #TwinkleSharma #JusticeForTwinkleSharma .— Political4You (@YouPolitical4) June 7, 2019
Twinkle Sharma 3 Year Old Girl Brutally Raped And Murdered. 3 year old Twinkle Sharma Brutally Raped and Murdered in Aligarh. This Case Rasing Issue of Women Security. pic.twitter.com/60msElMx1N
The brutality of the crime left Indians shaken as a hashtag using her name trended on the social media and brought the case to national spotlight on Friday.
"The brutal murder in Aligarh is yet another inhuman, unspeakable crime against an innocent child. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain her parents must feel. What has become of us?" Priyanka Gandhi, leader of the main opposition Congress party, said on Twitter.
Actor Abhishek Bachchan said he was "disgusted and angered." "How can somebody even think of doing such a thing? Speechless..." he tweeted.
Just so disgusted and angered hearing about #TwinkleSharma. How can somebody even think of doing such a thing?!?! Speechless….— Abhishek Bachchan (@juniorbachchan) June 6, 2019