A 16-year-old girl was allegedly locked up and raped for five days by six people, including three boys in Ongole town of Andhra Pradesh, police said Sunday.
All six accused have been arrested from different parts of the state and police said they are further investigating the case. Home Minister M Sucharita promised stern action as the incident raised concerns over the safety of women in the state.
On June 17, the girl met one the accused at the RTC bus station in Ongole, a town 140km south of Amaravati. The two became friends and she was then taken to his room where he and five of his friends allegedly raped her for five days, senior police officer Siddharth Kaushal told reporters.
The girl managed to escape and reached the bus station on Saturday evening when an on-duty home-guard and an assistant sub-inspector spotted and rescued her, police said.
She was admitted to a government hospital for treatment and her condition was said to be stable.
Based on the girl's complaint, police launched a manhunt for the accused and arrested them from different places.
One of the accused was arrested at Bitragunta in SPS Nellore district while he was trying to board a train, he added.
Condemning the incident, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Gautam Sawang said safety and security of women and children and prevention of crime against them would be given high priority.
Perpetrators of such crimes would be dealt with sternly and brought to book systematically, he said in a statement.
Mr Sawang directed the Prakasam district Superintendent of Police to ensure the case was investigated thoroughly so as to secure conviction.
A case under different sections of POCSO Act and the Indian Penal Code was registered against the accused.
"This is a heinous crime and we will take deterrent steps to ensure such incidents did not recur," said the Home Minister.
Ongole lawmaker and Energy Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy also condemned the incident.