The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lover tries to sell off girl, police turn her away

Behrampore, June 27: A teenager from Murshidabad, who fled from the jaws of prostitution in Mumbai, today knocked on the district police chief's door after an officer repeatedly refused to accept her complaint against a youth who tried to sell her off to pimps.

At her village in Burwan, Laila Khatun was lured by the promise of marriage and a life in Mumbai into a relationship with Ujjal Miya. But once in the tinsel town, he asked her to proceed with a couple of strangers. She refused.

'They escaped when I raised an alarm. I somehow managed to get in touch with a neighbour working there as a mason. He contacted my father and brother, who brought me back,' said the school dropout from Mahisgram, about 250 km from Calcutta.

The Telegraph had reported a series of incidents of girls going missing in the state, particularly from Nadia, Murshidabad and East Midnapore . The government is now drawing up a plan to put an end to the girl trafficking and increase awareness.

A lot more still remains to be done. The Burwan police station officer-in-charge had listened to 15-year-old Laila's plight, but done little else. Latibur Rahman, her father, said the OC, Pabitra Kumar Mostafi, had let him file a general diary on June 2, a day after Laila went missing. 'But after my daughter came back, I went to the police station again on June 9. The officer did not let me lodge a complaint against Ujjal'. He asked me to come back 10 days later,' he said.

That day when Rahman stepped in with his daughter, he saw Ujjal and his father sitting there along with local CPM and RSP leaders. Ujjal, he said, was an RSP activist. 'The officer, instead of registering our complaint, again asked me to see him a few days later. I visited the police station every day between June 20 and June 26, but could not lodge the complaint. Yesterday, he told me no case would be registered against Ujjal,' Rahman said.

Algar Ali, the CPM zonal committee secretary, who was among the leaders present at the police station, denied pressuring the police. 'There is no question of shielding the accused. We also want the guilty to be punished,' he said.

District superintendent of police Sanjoy Singh said he has ordered Mostafi to start a case. 'The boy must be arrested. I have sought an explanation from the OC ' why no case was registered even a fortnight after her first visit to the police station,' he added.

Mostafi said he wanted to make some 'necessary queries' before starting the case. 'Now that the SP has asked me to start one, I will do so as soon as Laila files a written complaint.'

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