Indian police detained three people on Tuesday over the brutal rape and murder of a young student in a case echoing the 2012 gang-rape of a Delhi woman that sparked mass protests.
Police said the attack on the 30-year-old law student from the lowest Dalit caste was so vicious she was found lying dead in a pool of blood, her intestines hanging out.
Her mother discovered her body at the family home in the southern state of Kerala.
“The suspect attacked and murdered her brutally and fled the scene quickly,” said police inspector general Mahipal Yadav, who is heading the investigation into the case.
“There are indications that her intestines came out after severe violation by some foreign object,” Yadav added.
Kerala home minister Ramesh Chennithala said police had registered a case of rape and murder and detained three people for questioning.
“Police have booked a case of rape and murder… today three people were taken into custody for interrogation,” he told the NDTV news network.
“Police are working very hard on this case, we will bring all the culprits to book within no time. There will be no laxity.”
Protesters staged a demonstration in state capital Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, many covering their mouths with black handkerchiefs and carrying placards demanding justice for the victim.
The attack drew comparisons with the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in Delhi in 2012, which shone a global spotlight on frightening levels of sexual violence against women.
It led to an overhaul of India’s rape laws, including the speeding up of trials and tougher penalties for offenders, but high numbers of assaults persist.
The most recent official figures show that 36,735 rapes were reported across the country in 2014, although activists say the true number is likely much higher, with many crimes going unreported due to the social stigma they attract.
Social media users took to Twitter to express their outrage over the latest incident.
“The horror of the Kerala rape cannot and should not be silenced, elections or no elections. Justice must be delivered swiftly,” wrote author Advaita Kala.