Amid protests and rallies against several rape and murder incidents that have surfaced across the country, a partly-burnt body of an unidentified woman has been found in the Dhantala village in Kotwali Gram Panchayat under the English Bazaar Police Station in Malda district this morning.

The find today sparked outrage, especially as it is suspected that the woman may have been raped before torching her after sprinkling kerosene on her last night. The police have sent the body for post-mortem and started investigations, police sources said.

As parties, organisations, and different individuals expressed anger at the incident, the Malda district Congress has called for a protest march and candle meeting at the Foara More in Malda tomorrow evening.

The party will demand quick arrest of the offenders and exemplary punishment for them, party leaders said. “A labourer was passing through the lonely road that connects Dhantala with Lakkhipur village when he spotted the body and informed the villagers, who immediately called the police,” local sources said.

Superintendent of Police Alok Rajoria, along with other high ranking police officers, soon visited the area and supervised the sample collection to be sent for forensic examination. “Local people and some investigating police officers primarily suspected the incident to be a re-run of the recent Hyderabad incident where a veterinary doctor had been abducted, raped and torched,” sources said.

According to Animesh Das, a local resident, the place remains lonely in the night, but that such horrific incident had never happened there.

“There is a primary school almost 300 meters away from the place where the body was found. We can now sense a lack of security here. The administration had been many a time requested to construct the road here and install some lights, but in vain,” he said.

Sources also said that they found some injury marks in parts of the body that were not burnt. “The woman was approximately 20-22 years old, while 80 percent of her body is burnt. There are also injury marks near her private parts,” an investigating police officer said.

While SP Rajoria refused to say anything on “possibilities,” he said anything could be said only after receipt of the autopsy report. “Anything could have happened with the woman. The wounds could be ante or post-mortem. We can have a clear perspective of the case only after post-mortem,” Rajoria said.

TMC district president, Mausam Noor, said they are keeping a close watch on the incident and that she has talked with the SP. “I sincerely condemn such heinous act against a woman,” she said.

Social and human rights activists like Mrityunjay Das, Jishnu Roychoudhury, and Sutapa Pandey also expressed their sadness and said, “Such incidents cannot be tolerated, and we will go for a movement in protest and in demand for justice.”