Mumbai: India's rights watchdog has said that more than a dozen tribal women were raped and sexually assaulted by police in restive Chhattisgarh state.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said at least 16 women were “victims of rape, sexual and physical assault” after it concluded an investigation into reports that police attacked several villages in Bijapur district during an operation against Maoist rebels in October 2015.

The NHRC said it was in the process of recording the testimonies of 20 more victims who were sexually assaulted during the incident.

Several media reports at that time said police officers had raped or sexually assaulted at least 40 women in five villages and destroyed and looted homes during the anti-Maoist operation. The reports said 11 women were gang raped, including a 14-year-old girl and a pregnant woman.

Police filed an initial complaint and launched an investigation over the allegations but no arrests have been made yet.