An Indian man has massacred four women and five young girls in a village in the central state of Chhattisgarh, police say.

Pandu Nagesia, said to have been apparently mentally disturbed after his wife left him, killed nine of his neighbours on Thursday in the village of Behratoli village, Govardhan Singh Darroh, district police chief, told the AFP news agency by telephone.

The 35-year-old killed five girls aged between two and nine, a 25-year-old and three women over 60, he said.

"A total of nine females were axed to death," 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, after Nagesia was taken into custody and the axe recovered.

Attacks on women have attracted more public attention in India since December, when a 23-year-old student was brutally attacked and raped by six men on a moving bus in the capital New Delhi.

She died in a Singaporean hospital two weeks later of her injuries.

Source: AFP