29 men held over suspected gang rape of 15-year-old girl

Police in India arrested 29 men on Thursday in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, which occurred repeatedly over a period of almost eight months.

The victim was first raped on January 29 this year, said Dinkar Mukne, a junior officer with the Mandapa police in the city of Dombivli, which neighbors Mumbai in Maharashtra state.

The rape was filmed, with the video then used to blackmail her repeatedly for the next eight months, said Mukne. She was allegedly raped by 33 perpetrators in total, including two teenagers, with the abuse lasting until this week.

When her family — which had so far had no idea what was happening — found out, they brought the victim to the police station on Wednesday and filed a complaint, Mukne told CNN on Friday.

The 29 men were arrested under the country’s penal code, and separately under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) law, which has more severe sentences of longer jail time.

“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,” said Sonali Dhole, senior police official who is heading the investigation.

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