A Class X student, who was being harassed by a group of young men with political connections, was kidnapped from her house, gang-raped and murdered in Arwal early this morning.
The incident occurred around 4am at Azadbigha village, under the jurisdiction of Telpa police outpost, around 100km southwest of Patna.
The men - all of whom are believed to be around 25 years of age - kidnapped the girl, 18, when she was sleeping at home with her mother, a widow.
Local residents who had gone to attend the call of nature in an agricultural field adjacent to her house found the girl's body in a pool of blood.
Her clothes were torn and her body bore external injury marks that suggest she had resisted the assault. Her mouth was gagged with a piece of cloth.
The girl's mother, Chintamani Devi, 45, said she could not find her daughter in the house when she woke up around 5am. She woke up the neighbours and told them her daughter was missing.
A team from the Telpa police outpost rushed to the spot and sent the body for post-mortem.
Arwal deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Shailendra Kumar said the girl was killed with a sharp-edged weapon.
"We are waiting for the post-mortem report to confirm the rape and murder. The victim's mother has lodged a case against unknown persons," the DSP told The Telegraph over phone.
Chintamani Devi told police that some men had been harassing her daughter for months.
"She had confided in me, but I didn't go to the police because I feared the men would kill us," the mother told some local journalists.
Two of the culprits, sources in the know said, are from a family with connections in the ruling Grand Alliance.
DSP Shailendra said raids were conducted to arrest the accused, who have fled the area.
A shocked elderly resident of the village said the incident reminded people of a similar case in Nalanda where a teenager was lured and raped by a ruling party MLA at his Nawada residence early this year.
"Influential people are involved in this (today's) incident," the resident said. "There are chances that the police will try to suppress the matter as offenders have connections in the corridors of power."
DSP Shailendra assured Chintamani Devi that she would get justice.
"This is a serious offence and the accused, whosoever they are, will not be spared," the DSP told the shocked and grieving mother.
Karpi block development officer Akhileshwar Prasad has given Rs 20,000 to the family for the girl's funeral, the DSP said.