A middle-aged grocer was beaten up by the public and handed over to the police after he sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl who came to his shop in Kumaraswamy Layout Thursday evening.

The victim is a resident of Iliyasnagar, where the accused, Mujeeb (54), runs a provision store at the Muniyappa compound. On Thursday around 6.30 p.m., the victim, who was playing outside her house with her friend, was asked by her mother to get some groceries. The two children turned up at Mujeeb’s store where he offered them candies and began chatting with them.

A little later, when the two tried to leave the shop, he dragged both into a storeroom of the shop, the police said.

While one of the girls managed to escape and flee homewards, Mujeeb caught the victim and allegedly raped her. In the meantime, her friend rushed to her house and informed her (the victim’s) mother, who summoned her husband and neighbours and rushed to the shop.

As the crowd surrounded the shop, the father went inside and rescued the child, while the enraged mob beat up Mujeeb and handed him over to the Kumaraswamy Layout police.

The victim underwent a medical test and the police are waiting for the report.