Twelve people, including a local DYFI leader, have been arrested in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a school girl by several men for a number of days at various places in Kannur district after enticing her through social media, the police said Friday.
The girl's father was also among those arrested, a police official said.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) is the youth wing of the CPI(M), the ruling party in Kerala.
"Sixteen FIRs have been lodged in five different police stations... We believe there are over 20 accused. We are questioning more people," Kannur SP Shiv Vikram told PTI.
The incident came to light in the first week of December after one of the accused called the victim's brother and demanded Rs 50,000 threatening that he had some nude shots of the girl and would post it on social media.
According to police, the brother was allegedly beaten up by the accused at Palakkad, where he had gone to confront him.
The accused had got in touch with the girl, a student of class 10, by creating a fake profile of a woman on social media. On November 19, she was taken to a lodge at Parasinikadavu, a temple town on the banks of Valapattnam river in the district and allegedly sexually assaulted by four people, police said, adding the lodge manager was arrested for failing to inform police about the offence.
Based on the girl's statement, the first FIR was lodged and a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act registered, the police said.
In a similar incident, another minor girl, apparently a friend of the victim, was allegedly sexually assaulted by some people, police said, adding two FIRs have been registered in this regard. PTI