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A 10-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered during a wedding last week in Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria district, police said on Wednesday, adding to the growing number of sexual assaults on children in the country.

Umaria’s sub-divisional officer of police RK Shukla said the girl had come to her grandmother’s house in Samarkoini village under Manpur police station, some 450km west of Bhopal, to take part in her aunt’s wedding.

Shukla said the girl went off to sleep after her mother gave her food late on May 13 and her family members were busy in the wedding ceremonies. She was found missing the next morning and her family members searched for her throughout the day, he added.

The girl’s body was found by the side of a nullah hidden in the bushes about one kilometre away from the village the following day. She was found strangled to death with her scarf, Shukla said.

The post-mortem examination confirmed she had been raped before being killed.

Police suspect that someone close to the family who had come to attend the wedding could be responsible for the crime.

Umeria’s superintendent of police Asit Yadav assured that the culprit would be caught soon.

Government figures show that a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes in India.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2016, there was a sharp spike in cases of rape against children with an increase of such incidents by over 82% as compared to 2015.
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