Indian police said that 17 men have been arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl over several weeks, in the country’s latest horrific sexual assault case.
The girl, who has a hearing disability, was allegedly sexually assaulted inside a largely unoccupied apartment block in the southern city of Chennai.
Among those arrested were the 300-flat building’s security guards, plumber and elevator operator, state police said.
The 66-year-old lift operator was the first to attack the girl after she returned from school and was cycling around the complex, police said.
“This is the initial stage of investigation and we have to go in-depth to ascertain the details,” a local police official told media.
According to local reports, the accused took the girl to various places in the complex including the basement, terrace, gym and public restrooms to rape her.
The incident came to light after the girl told her family who then lodged a police complaint. She is now receiving medical attention.
India has a grim record of sexual violence. Some 19,000 attacks on minors were reported in 2016, but vast numbers are never brought to police attention.
In January, India was rocked by a particularly shocking attack when an eight-year-old girl died after being kidnapped, drugged and gang raped for days at a Hindu temple.
This led to the introduction of the death sentence for the rape of girls under the age of 12.