31 girls rescued from bus in Jharkhand
As many as 31 girls, including at least nine minors, allegedly being trafficked to Tamil Nadu on the pretext of employment were rescued from a bus in Jharkhand’s Latehar district on Wednesday.
Acting on a tip-off, Balumath police stopped the long-distance bus bearing a Tamil Nadu registration number along the Medininagar-Balumath main road around noon and rescued the girls.
“Police had got a tip-off that a bus from another state was moving with girls and intercepted it at Balumath. The driver and cleaner could not speak Hindi and were speaking only in Tamil. Based on interrogation of the girls, we came to know that they were being taken to work in a thread manufacturing factory on the outskirts of Chennai on monthly wages of Rs 9,000. However, the girls could not show any document of the employer nor could the drivers show any proof. The police have detained the driver and the cleaner. However, Shanker Oraon who had convinced the girls to go to Chennai, managed to escape,” said Balumath circle officer Ravi Kumar.
The officer monitored the rescue operation in coordination with local police.A police source said the traffickers had carefully hatched a plan to take the girls on a private bus to avoid detection at the railway station.
“It seems they had brought the bus all the way from Tamil Nadu to take the girls to avoid detection at the railway station. Inter-state bus movement is still prohibited in Jharkhand due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said officer-in-charge of Balumath police station Rana Bhanu Pratap Singh.
“We are trying to ascertain the age of the girls but prima facie nine appear to be minors. After age verification we will hand over the rescued minor girls to the child welfare committee of Latehar district. The girls are not only from Latehar district but also from other districts like Ranchi, Simdega and Lohardaga,” he added.
The seized bus has been kept at the police station while the rescued girls have been lodged at the Kasturba Gandhi girls residential school in Balumath for investigation.
On October 3, 14 tribal girls, including eight minors, were rescued by an RPF team at Ranchi railway station. All the girls were from the remote Manika block of Latehar district and were being taken by a suspected woman trafficker to Hyderabad on the pretext of getting them a job after training in stitching and embroidery.