PATAN: A group of villagers allegedly tonsured a 14-year-old girl, blackened her face and paraded her as a punishment for eloping with a man at a village in Gujarat's Patan district, police said on Saturday.
At least 22 people have been arrested so far for the alleged incident that took place in Harij village on November 10, an official said.
Villagers belonging to the Vadi tribal community punished the girl by tonsuring her and blackening her face for eloping with her lover, which they claimed brought a bad name to the tribe, the official said.
A video of the incident posted on social media shows the girl crying as men tonsured her and blackened her face to carry out a ritual to "purify" her.
Villagers also paraded the girl and her lover in the village as a punishment.
Soon after, the girl's family members also forced her to marry another man from the same community, the police said.
"We have lodged an FIR against 35 villagers in this connection and so far, and 22 have been arrested," Superintendent of Police (Patan), Akshayraj Makwana said.
The man with whom the minor eloped was also booked for rape under the IPC and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, among other charges, he said.
As per the FIR registered on Friday, 35 accused were booked under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 509 (insulting modesty of woman) of the IPC, and provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, it was stated.
Another FIR was registered against the person accused of eloping with the minor under relevant sections of the POCSO Act and IPC sections 363 (kidnapping), and 376 (3) (rape).
As per the FIR, the girl was abducted and taken to Dakor in Kheda district where she was raped by the accused, police said.