It was a weekend and four youngsters from a tribal hamlet decided to go to the local fair at the Tajangi village in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district.
What started as a day of fun, ended in horror for two minor girls.
The girls were gang raped by eight men in the village and other tried to hush up the crime by directing the culprits to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to the victims.
The accused, which included Vasanth, son of a mandal (block) elected representative and Nagendra, son of a head constable and their six friends, were all absconding, police said.
When the girls along with their two male friends (one was an uncle) reached the village for the ‚Äėjatra‚Äô, they did know that it had already been cancelled.
As it was raining heavily, the girls along with the two youth had taken shelter in front of a closed shop. The accused reached there, chased away the male friends and raped the girls one after another.
The men had by then gone back to the hamlet and came back with a crowd. The girls were taken back to the village.
Instead of lodging a complaint with police, their families approached the village elders in accordance with the traditions of the tribal community.
Local reports say that the village elders summoned the youth on Sunday and directed them to pay Rs 50,000 compensation to the two victims. The girls refused to accept the same and compelled their parents to lodge a complaint with police on Monday.
‚ÄúRs 50,000 was offered to them, but we are not sure of the village elders ordered it. They are denying it now. We are investigating if the accused or their parents offered it,‚ÄĚ Anil, Deputy Superintendent of Police told TNM.
Police in Chintapalli mandal registered cases against the accused for rape and for committing atrocities on tribals. Case has been registered under various sections including 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354 (outraging modesty) of the Indian Penal code, Sec. 6 of POSCO Act 2012 (aggravated sexual assault) and Sec.3(1) (intentional insult) under SC,ST POA Act 2012.
Police had sent the girls for medical examination and formed special teams to nab the accused.