At least eight people have been arrested for the rape and trafficking of a 15-year-old girl for more than five months in Karnataka's Chikkamagaluru district. The police have also arrested the aunt of the rape survivor as one the accused in the case.
An FIR was registered on January 30 at the Sringeri police station in Chikkamagaluru after a complaint by the district child welfare committee chairman accused over 17 people of rape and sexual abuse of the teenage girl.
"A 15-year-old girl was raped and sexually abused by 17 men for five months. The victim's aunt is the main accused in this case," Additional SP Sriti told India Today TV.
The cop said that the rape survivor was working in a stone crushing unit when she met a bus driver, who raped and sexually abused her.
"He then gave her number to one Small Abhi who also raped the minor girl. Abhi took photos, made videos, and used these to blackmail the minor. Later, his friends also raped the girl," he said.
Police said the rape survivor used to live with her aunt after her mother died three years ago.
The accused have been identified as Small Abhi, Girish, Vikas, Manikanta, Sampath, Ashwathgowda, Rajesh, Amith, Santhosh, Deekshith, Santhosh, Niranjan, Narayana Gowda, Abhi Gowda, Yogeesh, minor's aunt, and the owner of the MGR crusher.
All the arrested have been booked under sections 201, 370 (trafficking), 376 (3), 376 (n) of the Indian Penal Code. They have also been booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and Child Labour Amendment Act, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act).
Meanwhile, Karnataka unit's Congress spokesperson Lavanya alleged that some of the accused named in the FIR have links with the BJP.
"If you notice the pattern across India whenever there is an assault on women and kids, more often than not you see a lot of BJP MLAs and office-bearers being involved. What is it that makes them so terrible people that they are involved in incidents such as this," she said.