Eighteen men have been arrested in the Indian city of Chennai, for allegedly repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl over a seven-month period.
The group which included security guards, lift operators and plumbers are accused of sedating the child and taking her to vacant apartments in the block where she lived and they worked, to abuse her.
They reportedly threatened her with knives, and told her they would release videos of the assault if she told anyone.
Over the weekend, the girl told her elder sister who was visiting from Delhi about the abuse, prompting her family to file a complaint with police, The Times of India reported.
Police subsequently arrested the men on charges of rape, attempted murder and criminal intimidation.
Footage of the men arriving in court showed lawyers beating up the suspects as they were brought in. One cowered in a corner, trying to protect himself from the blows, while passers-by took pictures on their mobile phones.
Over a hundred rapes of women, on average, were reported each day in India in 2016, according to the most recent figures made available by the national crime records bureau.
However, authorities believe there may be many more victims who remain silent. Around six of those were girls below the age of 12.
Earlier this year, India introduced the death penalty for those found guilty of raping children under the age of 12 in response to the growing outrage over recent attacks on young girls in the country.
Asmita Basu, programmes director of Amnesty international India, told The Independent last week that women’s safety in India continued to be an issue of concern and violence against women remains “widespread and pervasive.”