Four young tribal schoolgirls, all minors, were abducted from their hostel and then gang-raped allegedly by a group of 10 to 15 masked men, armed with knives and weapons, in the Pakur district of Jharkhand.
The police say the men barged into a girls' hostel in Litipara block at around 11 pm on Sunday. The intruders locked the school principal, who stayed in the hostel premises, and other students and then allegedly took the four girls away and gang-raped them just 500 metres away from the hostel.
"For half an hour, I was struggling to come out of my room. I broke the door and came out and then I came to know about the incident," said AB Malto, the Principal of the school.
After two hours, the minors were taken back to the hostel by their assailants. The police say all the suspects seem to be adults and probably belonged to neighbouring villages. No arrests have been made so far.
"As soon as we entered the village, three boys ran after seeing the police. The police is still searching for them," said YS Ramesh, Superintendent of Police, Pakur.
Medical tests have confirmed that the girls, aged between 12-14 years, were raped. They belong to the Parhaiya tribe which has been notified as a primitive tribal group.
The latest incident comes on the back of a string of brutal sexual assaults on women in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh last week. The cases highlight how women, including minors, continue to remain unsafe in the country despite the government bringing in a new, tough set of laws to tackle incidents of sexual crimes.