Horror as teens dragged into forest, gang-raped by eight men and left for dead

Two young girls, aged just 14 and 15, were subjected to a brutal rape ordeal by eight men after they had gone with them to celebrate Holi, the Indian Festival of Love.

The two friends had been allowed by their parents to attend the festivities with the group of men, who are aged between 19 and 22 years old.

However, they had been expected to return to their homes in Khowai, in India's Tripura state in the northeast of the country, on the evening of Monday, March 29.

Instead, the teens appeared at their homes injured and bedraggled the following morning.

They have been admitted to a local hospital where they are still undergoing treatment.

Khowai SP Dr Kiran Kumar told reporters that the pair were "out of danger".

Their families had not contacted the police when the girls did not arrive home on Monday night, the Times of India reports, but after they told their parents what had happened during the night, the incident was put in the hands of local law enforcement.

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The girls say they had been taken to nearby woodland and gang-raped by the eight men who they named to police.

All of the men are now in police custody.

Speaking about the incident, a police officer told reporters: "The accused took the girls to a forest and gang-raped them through the night. When they passed out, the men left presuming them to be dead."

The eight men accused of gang rape are expected to appear before a magistrate on Wednesday.

A shocking wave of gang rapes and sexual assaults has blighted India in recent months.

Earlier this month, a 15-year-girl in Jhalawar City in central India alleged that she had been drugged and then subjected to an eight-day sexual assault ordeal by some 20 men.

Two senior police officers have been suspended over negligence of duty in connection with the case.

Superintendent of Police Sharad Choudhary said the two officers had "failed to act even after 10 days of the crime".

And in February, reports emerged of a 12-year-old girl who had been gang-raped, murdered and cremated before her parents were held hostage for 12 days in East Champaran, Bihar.

Senior police officer Sanjiv Kumar Ranjan was suspended in the wake of that case after an audio clip emerged that appeared to expose his involvement in covering up the horrific crime.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 0845 30 30 900 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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