In yet another barbaric incident in Uttar Pradesh, a three-year-old girl was found dead in a field in Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday morning. Police said that the girl was raped and strangulated.

This is the third case of rape and murder in the state in the last 20 days.

She was found missing since Wednesday and her body was found just half a kilometre from her home.

Yesterday, the police had called it murder. Sexual assault was confirmed by the autopsy, said the police.

In his complaint to the police, the girl’s father had accused a villager Lekhram. He alleged that the girl was kidnapped and killed in a rivalry.

The district police chief, Satendra Kumar, told that the police have formed four teams to look for the accused man.

“The body has been sent for post-mortem. We are investigating the matter and stringent action will be taken against accused,” he added.

Last week, a 17-year-old girl was raped and her mutilated body was found near a village in Lakhimpur Kheri district.

The police had initially said the girl appeared to have been killed with a sharp weapon and that she had sustained injuries to her neck. The body was found near a dried-up pond, around 200 metres from her village.

The post-mortem report has confirmed rape, said SP Satendar Kumar and added that all possible efforts are being made to identify and arrest the accused.

According to the relatives of the girl, she had left home on Monday to visit a neighbouring town to fill up a scholarship form. However, when she did not return, the family informed the police.

On August 15, a 13-year-old girl was raped and killed in Lakhimpur Kheri district and her body found in a sugarcane field. The girl’s family had claimed that their daughter’s body was found with her eyes gouged out, tongue cut and strangled with a ‘dupatta’, in a sugarcane field.

However, the UP Police denied that the girl’s eyes were gouged out or tongue being cut, as it was not mentioned in the post-mortem report. They said that the report states rape and strangulation.

On August 16, in yet another shocking incident emerging from Uttar Pradesh, a minor girl was allegedly raped and singed with cigarette butts by two men in the Gola area of Gorakhpur district.

Earlier, on August 6, a 6-year-old girl in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh was kidnapped and raped. She was left to die in a nearby forest, from where a search and rescue team found her almost 12 hours later. The police later arrested the accused. The girl has been through at least one surgery following the attack.