Five students of a private college in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district were arrested on Wednesday on charges of raping a girl in March this year, the police said. The incident came to light this week after a number of video clips of the incident were widely shared on social media and instant messaging applications.
All the accused are aged 19 years, the police said.
They have been charged with gang rape and under the strict law that protects scheduled castes and tribes. The 18-year-old girl, a member of the Dalit community, went to the same college and knew one of the accused.
The police said that four of the young men took the girl to a forested area in their car in the first week of March this year. They drugged her and raped her there, the police said.
They also recorded the incident and threatened the girl that the video would be shared on social media if she complained about the incident to anyone.
The videos, showing the three boys assaulting the girl while a fourth filmed the incident went viral and was picked up by the social media monitoring cell of the police. The police registered a case and formed two teams to trace the accused, which led to their arrests. The fifth accused had allegedly circulated the video.
District superintendent of police B M Laxmi Prasad warned the public not to share the video on social media and said anyone who did so, could be prosecuted.
The five students have also been suspended from the college.