3 girls found dead in India well; mother calls for culprits to be hanged
February 21, 2013 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Indian students in a One Billion Rising rally in New Delhi on February 14, 2013.
- NEW: Four people are being questioned in the case, the district police chief says
- The bodies of three girls aged 6, 9 and 11 are found at the bottom of a well
- Police say initial medical reports suggest the girls were sexually assaulted
- The girls' mother says police should have acted more quickly
New Delhi (CNN) -- The mother of three girls who were found dead at the bottom of a well in western India after they were allegedly raped has called for those responsible to be caught and publicly hanged.
The bodies of the three girls -- aged 6, 9 and 11 -- were found in the well in Bhandara district in Maharashtra state on Saturday, police said.
They were reported missing two days earlier, said A.R. Tiwari, a local police inspector.
The shocking news comes as India is still reeling from the horrific case in New Delhi in which five men and a juvenile are accused of gang raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in December. The five men are currently on trial.
Opinion: India can learn respect for women
India rape case drags on
Report: India has failed its children
'Slumdog' star weighs in on gang rape
Preliminary medical reports suggest the girls drowned, and that they had been sexually assaulted, Tiwari said.
Four people are being questioned in connection with the assault, district police chief Arti Singh told CNN Thursday. No one has yet been arrested.
A local police officer in charge of the area where the incident took place has been suspended and replaced by Tiwari, she said.
In an interview with CNN affiliate IBN Thursday, the victims' mother said police didn't respond quickly enough to the girls' disappearance.
Challenges of being a woman in India
"Had the police searched for the girls in the neighboring areas, then they would have been found," said the woman, whose identity was withheld in accordance with Indian laws protecting the victims and families in sexual assault cases.
But police denied her allegations.
"We acted promptly," Tiwari said. "Wireless messages were issued the same day and police teams fanned out to find the girls."
The mother is nonetheless urging police to catch those responsible quickly.
"I appeal to the government to capture the culprits and hang them in public," she said.
Part of complete coverage on
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1531 GMT (2331 HKT)
The sign language interpreter widely ridiculed for his performance at the Nelson Mandela memorial stands by his work.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Behind the scenes in Cambodian karaoke bars -- a common front for child prostitution.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 0446 GMT (1246 HKT)
A global risk firm surveys the most politically explosive countries.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
It's the battle of the tech titans. No, not Apple versus Samsung. Sony has gone head-to-head with Microsoft.
Keep up to date with stories from Europe's biggest tech conference.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
On Tuesday, I was free. On Wednesday, I became a criminal. India's high court just made being gay illegal, writes Tushar Malik.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
A Japanese actor says playing villians in Chinese films has helped the China-Japan divide. CNN's Ivan Watson reports.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
New skyscraper-sized gas plant is the biggest thing on the waves.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Pope Francis is Time's person of the year. His papacy has drawn adulation from people around the world for his man-of-the-people ways.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Turning 50 is a major milestone in a person's life -- and a country's history.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
Today's five most popular stories