Twenty-nine men were arrested in India on Thursday after being accused of allegedly gang raping a 15-year-old girl repeatedly over the course of almost eight months, CNN reported on Friday.
The girl was first raped earlier this year on January 29, junior officer with the Mandapa police in Dombivli, India Dinkar Munke told CNN.
The rape was filmed, and the video was then used as blackmail. She was repeatedly threatened with it for eight months, Munke said.
The abuse, which lasted until last week, reportedly involved 33 perpetrators, including two teenagers, all of whom who partook in the rape of the 15-year-old victim.
Her family, who had no previous knowledge on the matter, found out and went straight to the police on Wednesday to file a complaint.
The 29 perpetrators were arrested both under the country’s penal code and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) law, resulting in more severe sentences.
“We are investigating the allegations and how the initial contact came about. But the girl knew some of the men and had come in contact with a few through social media,” the senior police official heading the investigation, Sonali Dhole, said.
He added that the victim was taken to multiple locations within Dombivli, a city which neighbors Mumbai in Maharashtra state, and outside.
The incident is the latest in a series of rape cases and controversies in the country.
Two weeks ago, a woman who was allegedly raped in Mumbai died of the injuries inflicted on her by her abusers. She was found lying unconscious in a minibus.
Activists have said that the case was similar to the brutal 2012 gang-rape and murder of a student which prompted mass protests across the entire country.
Another gruesome rape case in India took place last month, when a nine-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered in Delhi to which four men, including a Hindu priest, were charged for their involvement in her death.
There has been an increase in reported cases over the years. More than 32,000 rape cases were recorded in 2019, up from 25,000 in 2021, according to the CNN. However, the number could be much higher in reality since many cases go unreported.