A 16-year-old tribal girl from a remote village in Gujarat's Chhota Udepur district was allegedly thrashed by three men in the presence of her father and local residents for eloping with a man a few days ago, said police on Wednesday.
While the incident took place on May 21, it caught the attention of the police after a video of the brutal assault went viral on social media platforms.
No arrests have been made so far, police said.
In the video, apparently shot by a villager on his mobile phone, three men can be seen taking turns to thrash the helpless girl in the presence of others.
She was first flogged hard with a stick by one of the three accused with another holding her. Then, the other two men brutally punch the tribal girl on the face and back, the clip showed.
The entire incident took place in the presence of her father, who was forced to watch his daughter being beaten up, police said.
Investigations by police revealed the three men were angry with the girl as she had eloped with a man recently which, according to them, brought disrespect to their community, Deputy Superintendent of Police AV Katkad said.
A police team reached the village on Wednesday and lodged an FIR at the Rangpur police station after a formal complaint from the girl's father.
"The girl had eloped with a man and went to a village in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. She was thrashed as a punishment by these accused upon her return a few days back. We have lodged a case against the three and 13 others who were present at the spot. No one has been arrested yet," Mr Katkad said.
The three accused were identified by the police as Desingh Rathva, Bhipla Dhanuk and Udelia Dhanuk.
All the 16 have been charged with rioting, criminal intimidation, assault and under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the police added.