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Miracle save for gullible tribal girl

Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel on Sunday rescued a 17-year-old tribal girl, missing since April 24, from Tatanagar. Found at Chakradharpur, the illiterate girl hailing from Keonjhar, Odisha, had been travelling with her relatives when a man lured her on the pretext of a job.

Though GRP personnel have sent the minor to MGM Medical College and Hospital for a medical test to ascertain rape, the girl has categorically denied she was violated.

Events unfolded dramatically from April 24, when the quartet of the girl, her brother, sister-in-law and nephew, reached Jamshedpur from Joda in Odisha’s Keonjhar district by bus and then to Tatanagar to catch a train to Rourkela for jobs.

A “tribal man”, apparently in his late 20s and speaking Hindi, befriended them. Soon, the smooth talker convinced them he could offer the girl a good job but needed her photograph for “official” reasons.

The man told the brother and sister-in-law to wait at the auto stand outside the station and took the girl and her nephew to Bistupur. There, the man told the nephew to wait while he took the girl to “have her photograph clicked at a studio”.

Tatanagar GRP officer-in-charge Ramendra Kumar Thakur, who gave the girl’s version on Sunday, said the man took her to a house “past a river”, which the police think was in Adityapur. There, the girl spent April 24 night. On April 25, the man took the girl to Chakradharpur, where she spent the day and night with “a family”.

The girl, not fluent in Hindi, did not sense danger. On April 26 morning, the man took her to Chakradharpur station and asked the girl to give her whatever cash she had “for travel costs” and her cellphone as his “talk time had exhausted”. The girl gave him a Rs 500 currency note and her cellphone. Then, the man went off.

The girl started crying after waiting at the station for hours. Finally, a woman, noticing her plight, offered the girl shelter for April 26 night. This woman, who declined to be identified, also informed GRP Charkradharpur personnel who relayed the matter to their Tatanagar counterparts.

Tatanagar GRP personnel had the case on record as the girl’s brother had earlier filed a missing diary. “These are simple villagers. The girl still doesn’t know the man’s name,” said Thakur.

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