Trafficking twist to a love story of Murshidabad girl

KOLKATA, 13 FEB: The Murshidabad girl who was reported to have traveled all the way to Kerala to look for her lover, who had left her, and allegedly got gang-raped there on Christmas night may actually be a case of human trafficking. The police have arrested all the four accused ~ Biju, Shareef, Salih and Jamsheer ~ on 26 December and remanded them in judicial custody. People who claimed to be the kin of the girl were given Rs 25,000 as compensation by the Kerala government. The amount was spent in the treatment of the victim, accommodation and food expenses of the family during their stay in Kerala. Even though several missing links have emerged in the case, the Kerala police has been dragging its feet inviting the ire of several human rights organisations.
It’s been more than a month now and the police officers are yet to know whether the girl was from Murshidabad as is being claimed. The Murshidabad superintendent of police, Mr Bharat Lal Meena, and the district magistrate, Mr Parvez Ahmed Siddiqui, denied having received any call from the Kerala police about the girl. According to initial information, a 17-year-old-girl, known to be from Murshidabad, had reached Iritty in Kannur district of Kerala on 16 December to see her lover and was raped by a group of four people at Vayathur near Ulikkal who left her naked and bleeding on a riverbank at Peruparamba near Iritty. The girl had gone to meet her “lover” along with her sister’s husband and another native of West Bengal. On their way back to Iritty, four men in the lorry offered them lift. They took them to a riverbank at Vayathur and raped the girl after tying the two other men. The gang who raped the girl also invited another youth to join their nefarious deed.
Father Martin Puthussery, a Bengali-speaking researcher on migrants issues in Kerala, said that he went to speak to the girl and the people who claimed to be her sister’s husband and found the statement given by them as disjointed. “The man could not give the girl’s name of the village in Murshidabad from where she had come from. The victim is mentally unstable and it was unlikely she had come all the way from Murshidabad to Iritty alone,” he said, adding that the police are yet to verify their identity. He said the police are yet to find the role of the contractor who employs these natives of Murshidabad and who gave shelter to the victim since her arrival in Iritty on 17 December. The so-called lover of the victim has not been traced, he added. The newly-appointed Kannur SP, Mr Rahul R Nair, said: “I joined just two days ago. We are still exploring the possibilities of human trafficking.” Various women’s organisations, including the Sthreekutayma of Ernakulam, visited the victim and demanded proper protection and treatment.

Soma Basu

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