NEW DELHI — A 19-year old woman was found hanging from a tree after allegedly being raped in an Indian village early Thursday, causing a fresh wave of outrage in a country still stunned over the recent fatal sexual assault of two teenage girls.

In spite of massive street demonstrations in the past two years protesting sexual assault and the passage of a tough new anti-rape law, incidents of rapes do not appear to have declined in India.

There were few facts available in the latest case in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It involved a 10th-grade dropout who left her home without informing her parents, police said. The cause of death was not immediately confirmed; police said there were no obvious signs of murder and that the woman might have committed suicide. But earlier in the day, her family told local reporters that she had been raped and killed.

Incidents of brutal sexual assault in India have drawn widespread international criticism.

But on Thursday, Indian officials rejected criticism from the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, who said in a recent report that violence against Indian women occurred “from womb to tomb.”

The Indian government posted comments on the United Nations Human Rights Council website saying that her conclusion was simplistic and smacked of a “highly prejudiced state of mind.”

“Our leaders are in a state of complete denial,” said Akhila Singh of the All India Democratic Women’s Association in New Delhi. “The government in Uttar Pradesh is busy trying to brush these incidents under the carpet. We have a strong anti-rape law now, but in the absence of political will and police action to implement these laws, the environment is becoming more and more hostile toward women and their freedom.”

In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a student in New Delhi prompted a massive national outcry. Parliament responded by passing a law that established the death penalty for fatal rapes and also criminalized offenses such as stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks.

A rape takes place every 20 minutes in India, according to records of cases brought to the attention of authorities. The state of Uttar Pradesh ranks fourth in India in the number of rape cases reported, with 1,963 in 2012 – nearly six rapes every day.

Still, Indians were stunned by the pixelated TV images of two girls found hanging from a mango tree in a Uttar Pradesh village last month. The cousins had been raped and murdered.

Four gang rapes were reported Thursday in different parts of Uttar Pradesh state, including one in which a woman was attacked by three officers inside a police station.