India rape: 17 men accused of multiple attacks on 11-year-old girl in Chennai

Police stand guard as the accused are brought to court in Chennai, India, July 17, 2018 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The accused men covered their faces as they were brought to court under tight security in Chennai

Seventeen men have been charged in India with the gang-rape of an 11-year-old deaf girl in the city of Chennai.

Police say she was raped repeatedly since the start of the year. They say the main perpetrator was a lift operator in her apartment block.

He is alleged to have drugged the girl and invited other men to assault her. Police say more arrests are likely.

India is experiencing renewed public outrage over the number of violent sexual assaults in the country.

On Tuesday a court in Chennai charged the 17 men - who include security guards, electricians and plumbers - with rape of a minor and ordered them held in custody until 31 July.

The case has sparked widespread revulsion and some of the accused were attacked by a group of lawyers during the court appearance, the Hindustan Times reported.

Video shared on social media showed a man being dragged from a staircase and beaten up as police struggled to restore order.

Speaking to journalists at the Madras High Court, advocate association president Mohana Krishnan said no lawyer was willing to appear on behalf of the accused.

The men were arrested after the girl's family made a complaint at an all-women police station in the northern suburb of Vepery, the Hindustan Times said.

A police official said the girl had identified all the accused. At least four of them have already confessed, the official added.

The victim has been referred to a government hospital for medical examination.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Some lawyers in Chennai attacked a police van carrying the accused to court

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