24 arrested for rape of minor in Chennai

People take part in a Not In My Name protest at Parliament Street in New Dehli on April 15

Lawyers at Chennai's Mahila court on Tuesday thrashed all 17 men who are accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl over the last seven month.

Often, police said, the child was sexually harassed in the evening, when her mother assumed that she was playing with other children in the apartment complex.

The hearing-impaired girl was allegedly sedated and given spiked soft drinks by the accused, which include the building's security guard and lift operator. The mob was thought to have included relatives of the alleged victim and even lawyers.

Police formally arrested Ravi Kumar, the main accused; security guards Abhishek (23), Sugumaran (60) and Prakash (58); a plumber, Suresh (32) and a housekeeping employee, Rajasekar (40).

Police say the men sometimes tied a belt around the girl's neck and covered her eyes before raping her. The Madras high court lawyers association has also decided not to represent any accused in the case.

For the sheer horror inflicted by the knowledge that an 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by at least 18 men for a duration of over 7 months.

The incident came to light when the victim, a class seven student, told her elder sister about the trauma she was going through. The officer said that they had videotaped the girl nude and threatened to release it if she told someone about it.

The Indian government recently approved stringent punishments for sexual violence against children, including the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls younger than 12 years.

Moideen Kutty, a businessman was taken into custody from Shornur and brought to a police station in Changaramkulam for questioning after visuals of the incident, captured on CCTV in the theatre.

"Ravi would lead away the child as soon as she alighted from her school van to the basement, public washrooms, the terrace and gym, where he and his accomplices raped her", the officer said.

After learning about the gruesome assault, girl's parents rushed her to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital for treatment on Sunday.

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