It’s being reported that a young child with a hearing disability was sedated and repeatedly gang-raped by at least 22 men over the course of seven months. According to HuffPost, the horrific incident took place at an apartment complex in Chennai, India.
The incident made headlines after it was brought to the attention of the local police by the child’s parents. The police responded quickly and were able to arrested 18 of the 22 men, including security guards, plumbers, electricians, and an elevator operation — all who were found in or around the family’s apartment complex. The men range in age from early 20s to late 60s, according to the Economic Times. Police are reportedly still searching for the four remaining suspects.
HuffPost reports there is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the age of the young girl. Times of India reported the victim is 12 years old, while other outlets have given her age as 11. Times of India also reported that the little girl was injected with sedatives, given “drug-laced soft drinks,” and forced to inhale some kind of powder before she was raped. An investigating officer said the men soon began to record explicit videos of themselves raping the child — which they then used to blackmail her into keeping quiet.
“This continued [until] the girl told her older sister, a college student on a visit home from Delhi, about the trauma she was going through,” the officer said. “The sister then informed their parents, who filed a complaint with the Ayanavaram all women police.”
The child told police that it was the elevator operator, 66-year-old Ravi Kumar, who was the first to assault after she returned home from school. She said Kumar raped her in a vacant apartment. A few days later, he brought more men to rape her, she said.
The victim was taken to the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital where she was examined and treated; the examination results confirmed the child was raped by multiple men.
A short clip posted to Twitter on July 17 by Times Now showed lawyers attacking the suspects on the staircase of the city high court as they were brought in.
According to the general secretary of Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled & Caregivers, S. Namburajan, this incident isn’t an isolated one.
“Sexual attacks against [disabled female] children continues in Tamil Nadu. In Sivagangai, a 17-year-old hearing impaired girl was raped and killed in a village, while another such instance has happened in Aynavaram. We condemn these attacks and urge the state government to conduct mass awareness programs to curb this,” she told DT Next.
Back in April of 2018, a similar gang-rape incident made headlines when 8-year-old Asifa Bano was kidnapped and raped by eight men before she was murdered, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.