The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Girl rescued from Bihar
- Nadia throws up horror series on flesh trade victims

Krishnagar, March 23: A day after two mothers were arrested for selling their daughters to the flesh trade in Bihar to escape poverty at Phulia, Nadia police rescued a 13-year-old girl of adjacent Ranaghat from north Bihar.

A bruised Aparajita Hawaladar was found in a hotel at a remote village near the India-Nepal border, where she had been tortured for days.

'She bore signs of physical torture,' said a police officer.

Aparajita has been brought back to her home at Payradanga, 65 km from Calcutta. Those who had taken the girl to Siwan, however, gave police the slip.

Aparajita was taken away from her parents with the promise of a job in Bihar by a jobless couple ' Raju and Swapna Sarkar ' last October.

Her father Surjya, a daily labourer, and mother Pratima, a domestic help, had agreed to let their only daughter go after being told that she was to be engaged in a Bengali household as a maid.

When the parents failed to establish contact with the girl for months, they lodged a complaint with the Ranaghat police station a fortnight ago. Raju and Swapna were arrested.

Police in Nadia said a team left for Siwan last week after they confessed to having sold the girl to touts looking for dancing girls for Bihar bars.

'The team rescued the girl from a hotel but could not capture the criminals who confined her there. The girl has also made a statement in which she described how she was tortured by her captors,' said Nadia police chief Benoy Chakraborty.

Yesterday, the police arrested four women from Phulia in Shantipur, 70 km from Calcutta, on charges of girl trafficking. Of them, Deepali Basak and Kalpana Das were charged with selling their daughters to flesh traders in Bihar.

Kalpana confessed to selling her daughter Shefali, 14, and a distant niece Sandhya, 12, a month ago.

The four women were produced in court today and remanded in judicial custody.

Chakraborty said a magistrate would record the women's statements that would later be matched with what they told the police.

'Deepali and the others will be further interrogated to identify other members of the racket and find out where the girls are now,' he said.

Forty-year-old Deepali was beaten up by neighbours when they came to know of her intention to sell her elder daughter, 13-year-old Durga, to the flesh trade in Bihar.

She had confessed to selling younger daughter Julie two days ago to the same racket to become a dancing girl in a bar in Bihar.

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