An Indian court on Tuesday sentenced two men to death for the gang-rape of an eight-year-old girl that sparked angry protests.

The sentence was one of the first ordered under a new law allowing for fast-track trials and capital punishment for child rapists.

Crowds chanted “Death to rapists!” after the brutal attack on the child in the central state of Madhya Pradesh two months ago. The victim is still in the hospital with critical injuries.

The suspects picked up the child outside her school in Mandsaur as she waited for her father.

They took her to a secluded spot where she was raped, had her neck slashed and was left to die. Her life was saved by locals who found her and rushed her to hospital.

A court in Mandsaur passed the sentence on the men, aged 20 and 24.

India in April made the rape of children aged up to eight a capital offence following widespread outrage over earlier cases.

The last execution for rape was 14 years ago in Kolkata in eastern India.

Dhananjay Chatterjee, a building guard, was hanged for the 1990 rape and murder of an 18-year-old. Sexual violence is rife in India, with nearly 40,000 rape cases reported in 2016. Activists say this is just the tip of the iceberg.

India has been the focus of international attention since the2012 gang-rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus sparked nationwide protests and highlighted its poor record on sexual violence.

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