Four women and five young girls were axed to death by an Indian man during a gruesome rampage in the central state of Chhattisgarh, police said Thursday.

Pandu Nagesia, 35, attacked nine of his neighbors, all female, in Behratoli village in Chhattisgarh while the men were away at work during the day, reports AFP.

He first attacked a 25-year-old woman and her two-year old child before killing four other young girls and three elderly women, district police chief Govardhan Singh Darroh told AFP by telephone.

The man was apparently “mentally disturbed” after his wife deserted him, police said after he was taken into custody. His weapon was also seized by authorities.

Violent attacks on women have earned greater focus in India following a disturbing trend of gender-based violence that has rocked the democratic nation.

Since the fatal gang-rape of a medical student in New Delhi, sexual assaults on women have hit the headlines, prompting outrage and protests demanding tougher penalties for rape.

The attack comes as the second horrific crime targeting women in just 3 days. On Wednesday, four sisters suffered severe burns in an acid attack.