New Delhi (CNN)They found her charred body near a highway underpass, early Wednesday morning, on the outskirts of one of India's biggest cities.
The victim, an unnamed 27-year-old veterinarian, was about to hop on her scooter Tuesday evening, when she noticed she had a flat tire.
Two men are alleged to have approached her to offer help, but they were not good Samaritans. According to police, the two men were members of a gang of four who had conspired to sexually assault her. One of the men had let the air out of the tire deliberately, police said.
Three of the gang are alleged to have overpowered the victim and dragged her to an enclosed area a few feet away. They covered her mouth with their hands to ensure her silence.
The four men are then alleged to have taken turns raping the victim, according to R. Venkatesh, a police inspector in the southern city of Hyderabad.
Later they strangled her, before driving her lifeless body nearly 12 miles (20 kilometers) away and dumping her body under a highway overpass. In an effort to conceal their crime, they poured fuel on her body and set it alight.
The four men have been arrested for her rape and murder, according to police.
As news spread of the monstrous crime, protests erupted in Hyderabad and later expanded to cities including Bengaluru and India's capital, New Delhi.
Some people in the angry crowds demanded the death penalty for the suspects and called for justice after yet another rape and murder of a woman in India.
According to India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), around 100 sexual assaults are reported to police in India every day. In 2017, more than 32,000 rapes were reported across the country -- but experts say that the real number is likely much higher, owing to the shame attached to sexual assault and the social barriers faced by victims.
An endemic problem
The outrage in Hyderabad comes just two weeks before India marks the anniversary of a disturbingly similar crime. The gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi on December 16, 2012, brought the issue of women's safety in India to the world's attention.
In September 2013, four men were sentenced to death in that case. The decision was upheld in 2017 and the four men remain on death row.
Another perpetrator was underage at the time and received a lesser sentence, while a sixth attacker died in prison.
The case led to protests across India and intense media coverage around the world, shining a light on India's pervasive problem of sexual violence against women.
But nearly seven years on, campaigners say that not much has changed for women in the country. The Hyderabad murder was just one of many vicious and violent crimes committed against women and children in the country during the past seven days alone.