A mob allegedly beat up more than 30 schoolgirls in Bihar’s Supaul district after they resisted sexual advances. Three people have been arrested while six others are still on the run, NDTV reported on Sunday.

The girls – aged 12 to 16 – were admitted to a local hospital. Twenty-two of them have been discharged.

The attack took place on Saturday when the boys from a nearby village barged into state-run Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in Supaul’s Triveniganj block, said the police. Some of the girls asked them to leave and stopped them from writing objectionable comments on the school wall. But when the boys refused and harassed them, the girls reportedly hit them.

However, the boys returned with many others around 5 pm. School warden Reema Raj said the attack took place when the girls were going out to play. “I saw all the villagers, both men and women thrashing them,” Raj told India Today. “They were kicked and beaten with canes.”

District Magistrate Baidyanath Yadav said stern action will be taken. “An FIR should be lodged against people who attacked these girls,” Yadav told The Tribune. “The accused would be identified with the help of CCTV footage and action would be taken as per law.”

State Education Minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma said action would be taken against the culprits. “To avoid such incidents in future, the department will appoint female constable and security personnel in girls’ schools,” he told The Times of India.

Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav criticised the government for the incident. He said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has “totally surrendered himself in the hands of goons and [the] deputy CM [chief minister] is begging mercy to hardened criminals”.