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Indian man kills nine women and girls with axe after wife leaves him

Accused was 'mentally disturbed' and went on a rampage with an axe after his wife left him, police say.

RAIPUR, India // Four women and five young girls were killed in a village in India yesterday by a man who went on a rampage with an axe after his wife left him.

Pandu Nagesia, 35, killed nine of his neighbours during a killing spree in Behratoli, in the central state of Chhattisgarh, said Govardhan Singh Darroh, the district police chief.

The victims included five girls between the ages of two and nine, a 25-year-old woman and three others over the age of 60.

"A total of nine females were axed to death," Mr Darroh said. "The accused, Nagesia, first attacked a 25-year-old woman and her two-year-old child and axed them to death, subsequently killing his neighbours one after another.

"The accused seems to be mentally disturbed after his wife deserted him," he added.

Nagesia was taken into custody and the axe recovered from the village, which is 625 kilometres north of the state capital, Raipur.

An eyewitness said the attacks had taken place in the early afternoon when some women and children were gathered in a house after their male relatives had gone to work in a nearby mine.

Local officials have announced compensation of 25,000 rupees (Dh1,686) each for the families of the deceased.

Attacks on women in India have been in the global spotlight since December, when a 23-year-old student was assaulted and gang- raped by six men on a bus in the capital New Delhi.

She died two weeks later of her injuries.

The case prompted outrage at home and abroad, prompting India's parliament to introduce tougher laws in an attempt to protect women.

Since the Delhi case, a string of other attacks have hit the headlines, including the gang-rape of a Swiss cyclist in central Madhya Pradesh state last month.

And on Wednesday, four sisters walking home in north India suffered severe burns after being attacked with acid by two men on a motorcycle - a horrific example of another growing problem in South Asia.

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