A mother and her six-year-old daughter were gang-raped by a group of men who offered them a lift home in northern India, police said.

The pair accepted the men’s promise to drive them back from holy site Piran Kaliyar, a holy site for Muslims and Hindus, on the banks of the Ganga Canal, Roorkee, Uttarakhand province.

Police superintendent Pramendra Doval said the alleged driver, named only as Sonu, already had friends in the vehicle when they picked up the unidentified women.

The mother said she could not tell exactly how many men were in the car – only that the driver was referred to by his friends as Sonu, NDTV reported.

Sonu and the men then raped the woman and her daughter in the moving car before dumping them close to the canal, police added.

The mother made her way to a nearby police station, where she reported the gang rape.

She was then taken with her daughter to Roorkee Civil Hospital, where doctors confirmed the sexual assault had taken place.

Police have been unable to locate the suspect, but said investigations are ongoing.

The sickening crime follows the gang rape of a 13-year-old last month in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh – with the officer she reported it to raping her again.

Station House Officer Tilakdhari Saroj was arrested after being caught on the run.

Saroj was charged under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), which introduced life sentences for convicted child rapists.

A recent study by World Vision India found up to half of the country’s children have suffered sexual abuse.

POCSO was brought in after the 2012 gang rape of Jyoti Singh, 22, by six men on a New Delhi bus, including the driver.

That incident sparked nationwide protests. 

All six perpetrators were convicted. One committed suicide in prison, four were executed, and the sixth, a minor, was released in 2015.