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 at Bilvant village near Bodeli town of Chhota Udepur district on May 21, it caught the attention of police after a video of the brutal assault went viral on social media platforms.
No arrests have been 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 other residents.
She was first flogged hard with a stick by one of the three accused men with another one 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 the thrashing of his daughter, police said.
Investigations by police revealed the three men were angry with the girl as she had eloped with a man recently, something which they think brought disrespect to their community, said Deputy Superintendent of Police A V Katkad.
A police team reached the village on Wednesday and lodged an FIR at the Rangpur police station after taking a formal complaint from the 16-year-old victim'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 these three men and 13 others who were present at the spot. No one has been arrested yet," said Katkad.
The three accused were identified by the police as Desingh Rathva, Bhipla Dhanuk and Udelia Dhanuk.
All the 16 have been booked on charges of rioting, criminal intimidation, assault and under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the police added.