At least seven men have been arrested in western India after a 16-year-old girl claimed she was raped hundreds of times by hundreds of men in the last six months.
The girl was married off at age 13 to a 33-year-old man, who also sexually abused her.
She also told police she was sexually assaulted by her father, which made her leave both homes and sleep at the bus stop.
In a statement to India’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the girl, who is homeless, said she was raped by 400 people in the Beed district of Maharashtra state, according to CWC chairman, Abhay Vitthalrao Vanave.
In her complaint, the minor also named two policemen, Vanave said.
While the number of alleged rapists might be very hard for prosecutors to ascertain or prove, the girl could identify at least 25 alleged perpetrators, Vanave added.
The girl had attempted to file a police complaint against a man she accused of beating her. In a statement, the force said it had registered cases against eight males including one minor- pertaining to rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences law, which has more severe sentences of longer jail time.
They have also registered a case under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
Women’s rights activist, Yogita Bhayana, said this was “the most tragic (rape) case in history”.
“This girl was tortured every single day,” she said, adding that police had failed to protect her. “We want strict action against all culprits.”
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, more than 28,000 cases of alleged rape against women were reported in 2020 — one roughly every 18 minutes. Experts believe the real number is much higher as many go unreported out of fear.
In September this year, police arrested 33 men for the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in Maharashtra.