The tribal girl from Gamharia with social workers at Adarsh Seva Sansthan in Jamshedpur on Sunday. (Bhola Prasad)
A 16-year-old tribal girl, who was kidnapped from Tatanagar station three months ago, sent to Haryana, drugged, forced to marry a 50-year-old Faridabad resident and sexually abused, is back home at Gamharia in Seraikela-Kharsawan.
The girl (name withheld to protect her identity) reached Tatanagar from Faridabad on October 5 as Haryana Police made matters too hot to handle for her tormentors.
The teen’s nightmare started on July 17, when she reached Tatanagar station to board a train to her native place Mayurbhanj in Odisha. A Class VI dropout, the daughter of a daily labourer father and domestic help mother thought her village in Odisha would offer her a livelihood.
“Around 7pm that day, when I was waiting at the station, two women approached me and were kind to me. They said they would help me reach my village. Instead, we landed up in Kharagpur the next day. They took me to their house and fed me well. The next day we boarded a train for New Delhi,” the girl told The Telegraph on Sunday.
In New Delhi, the women handed her over to two middle-aged men, Naresh Singh and Pappu Saini.
That is when the naïve girl first sensed danger. The women, while leaving her, chillingly said: “Ab tumko yahin jeena marna hai. (You have to live and die here).”
Thereafter, things took a bizarre turn, if one goes by the girl’s account. “I was taken to an asylum in Faridabad by Pappu and a few others. I was given two injections. When I woke up the next day, I was shown pictures where I was Pappu’s bride,” she said.
The girl was taken to 50-year-old Pappu’s residence in Ballabgarh near Faridabad, where he stayed with his mother, sisters and brothers. She was made to work as a maid and sex slave, was beaten up and rarely given anything to eat.
Unlike most trafficked girls, the victim telephoned her mother after a month using Pappu’s cellphone. But she was forced to say “positive things” about her “husband and in-laws” with the warning that if she didn’t, she would be “sent to Jammu and Kashmir”.
Meanwhile, a field worker of NGO Adarsh Seva Sansthan reported a Gamharia girl was missing. “On September 15, we came to know the teenager was missing for months, but when we met the family they said she was happily married in Haryana. As she was a minor and parents too poor to understand ramifications, we informed Gamharia police. Pappu’s cellphone number recorded on the handset of the girl’s mother gave police here the cue to contact their counterparts in Faridabad,” said social worker Prabha Jaiswal of the NGO.
When a Haryana Police team traced Pappu’s house, the girl was forced to say she was 25 years old. But, policemen kept up the heat on Pappu, demanding her age proof.
When Pappu and his family saw that torturing the girl would not shake the police from the scent, “his mother said I should be sent back”. Pappu’s family told Haryana Police they were sending the girl back by Jammu-Tawi Express to reach Jamshedpur on October 4, but changed their mind and sent her home via Purushottam Express a day later.
Reaching Tatanagar alone on October 5, the girl called her parents who rushed with social worker Mahesh Thakur.
“She was traumatised and shivering when we reached the station,” said Thakur.
Ten days on, her medical test reports are awaited from Seraikela Sadar Hospital. The girl was lucky that her parents accepted her. But fear of stigma did delay her rescue. “We didn’t inform the police immediately when our daughter went missing as we feared she had eloped,” said the mother.
Gamharia officer in charge Sanjiv Singh said they had filed a case under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366A (procuration of minor girl) against Pappu. “We may add other sections once medical reports come. We will work jointly with Haryana Police,” said Singh.
The NGO plans to enrol the girl in school after Puja.
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