In a shocking incident, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl was strangled to death and her eyes gouged out in Uttar Pradesh after her parents allegedly failed to repay a loan of Rs 10,000. Two of the accused have been arrested, police said.

According to the police, the two accused, identified as Zahid and Aslam, were neighbours of the girl who was murdered.

The Uttar Pradesh Police has constituted a Special Investigative Team (SIT) to probe the murder.

The SIT has been formed under the Superintendent of Police rural area (SPRA).

A forensic science team, Special Operation Group (SOG) and a team of experts are also in the SIT to conduct the investigation on a fast track basis. The POCSO Act has also been put in place in the case.

Following outrage over the horrific murder, and considering the gravity of the crime, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to book the two accused under the National Security Act (NSA) and transfer the case to a fast track court. Under the NSA, a person can be imprisoned for up to a year without being charged.

The incident took place in Tappal town in Aligarh. According to reports, the girl’s body was found on June 2 in a dumping ground near her house, three days after she went missing.

The mutilated body was discovered after a pack of stray dogs had been spotted carrying what appeared to be human body parts.

Police officials told PTI that the post-mortem examination did not find any signs of sexual assault and that death of the victim was due to strangulation.

According to reports, the accused have been charged under Section 302 (murder) and 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party’s General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi expressed dismay over the brutal murder terming it as “shocking” and “inhuman”.

People from various quarters have expressed anger over the heinous crime.

Bollywood celebrities have also voiced concern over the matter and have demanded “immediate and strictest punishment” for the accused.

According to media reports, the family and relatives of the deceased had earlier blocked roads in protest and had to be pacified by senior police officials.