Two men were arrested in Delhi for allegedly forcing a 13-year-old boy to get a sex change operation, and for raping him multiple times over years, NDTV reported on Friday, quoting the Delhi Commission for Women. Two other accused are reportedly absconding, the women’s body said.

The Delhi Police have filed a case against the accused under Sections 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises same-sex relations that are non-consensual in nature, among other charges. The men were also charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, according to India Today.

The boy, Shubham (name changed), met the accused at a dance event in Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar area about three years ago, the women’s body said. The accused befriended the 13-year-old on the pretext of teaching him dance, and took him with them.

For some time, Shubham was allowed to participate in dance performances that earned him money. But eventually, the accused told the boy that he would now “have to live and work” with the group, DCW said.

Following this, Shubham was constantly given intoxicating substances, the boy told the police. Later, the accused forcefully performed a reassignment surgery on him. Shubham said that he was also given hormones after the operation, which sped up his transition.

The accused and his friends then allegedly raped the 13-year-old boy multiple times. They even brought customers who would sexually exploit him at several occasions, according to India Today.

Shubham has further alleged that he was forced to beg at traffic signals as a transgender. The accused too used to roam around disguised as women, assault people and exhort their money, he added, NDTV reported.

All this while, the men threatened the boy that they would kill his family if he told anyone anything. Later, the accused managed to get Shubham’s friend to also join them, the Delhi Commission for Women said, according to reports.

In March 2020, when a lockdown was imposed for the first time to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Shubham and his friend managed to escape. The boys went to Shubham’s mother, who got a rented accomodation, where they along with Shubham’s parents and brothers started to live.

For a few months they were safe. But the accused found out their whereabouts in December. The men ambushed the boys and the family, vandalised the house they were living in, and took them away. Four men then took turns in raping Shubham and his friend, DCW said. Shubham’s mother was also threatened at gunpoint, the women’s body added.

Two days later, Shubham and his friend managed to escape again. This time, they hid at the New Delhi railway station. The next day, a lawyer found the children, and brought them to the DCW.