Bar girl gangraped at dawn

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Mumbai
  • Published 4.06.05
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Mumbai, June 4: A 20-year-old bar girl was kidnapped and gangraped near a cemetery in Bhiwandi early today.

Police said the girl works at Parichay dance bar in Bhiwandi, 112 km from Thane, and is acquainted with the rapists. She lives in Kalyan.

Based on information given by her, a Bhiwandi resident, Ratilal Bhagat, has been arrested. A search has been launched for six others.

The police said the bar girl was returning after a visit to her native Orissa village with a man and a 12-year-old child. When they got off the Howrah Express at Kalyan railway junction at 4.30 am, the four men herded them into a vehicle and drove to the cemetery.

The group, helped by three others, first robbed the man of gold ornaments. Then the 20-year-old was raped.

“According to information given by the victim, four people were involved in the rape but two raped her. The 12-year-old girl was unharmed.

“We suspect the involvement of local hooligans and have launched a search based on descriptions given by the girl,” Amar Jadhav, Bhiwandi deputy commissioner of police, said.

The police suspect personal enmity is the reason for the rape.

Security has been stepped up in Bhiwandi, known to be a communally sensitive town.

Bar girls have been vulnerable to sexual crimes as their working hours stretch beyond midnight and dance bars are infested by criminal elements. Last month, a bar girl was gangraped near her Antop Hill home when she was returning in the early hours of the morning.

Varsha Kale, president of the Bar Girls’ Union, was not aware of today’s incident. “I will check the details of this case. But bar girls as a community have been vulnerable to sexual offences.

“The police treat bar girls as commercial sex workers and are insensitive to their complaints,” she claimed.

Kale said over 2 lakh people, including bar girls and male employees, would face unemployment when the ordinance cancelling the performance licence of dance bars is ratified by Maharashtra governor S.M. Krishna next week.

The ordinance has been approved by the cabinet and is awaiting formal approval from Krishna, expected to return from France on Wednesday.

The bar girls and bar owners are likely to challenge the ordinance in Bombay High Court on the grounds that it is a violation of the constitutional right to earn a living.