April 6, Well-known civil rights activist from West Bengal, Kirity Roy, secretary, Mahila Sarvangeen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM), and national convener, Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI), in a letter to the chairperson, National Commission for Women (NCW), has urged immediate action to expedite investigation regarding the abduction of a 17-year-old girl, daughter of a Dalit below poverty line category, belonging to Sabaipur village of the North 24 Parganas district.
Pointing towards police indifference Roy says, though India has “substantial legislations dealing with kidnapping and abduction of women and girls and subsequent trafficking for immoral purposes”, things refuse to move, especially in the Indo-Bangladesh bordering district, which is “infamous for trafficking of girls for immoral purposes”, accusing the law enforcement authorities for being in a state of “deep slumber”.
Text of the complaint:
Here I want to draw your kind attention over an incident of abduction of a minor girl and subsequent police inaction. The girl was abducted as alleged from her uncle’s house. An FIR was registered after the minor’s father filed a complaint with the police, as no proper investigation done, the father sent a letter to the Superintendent of Police of the district that too not bear any fruit and nobody was booked under the law and girl was not rescued.
Priya Shikari ( actual name withheld with purpose), aged about 17 years at the time of the incident (date of birth October 7, 2001), daughter of Prasanta Shikari and Subhadra Shikari of village Sabaipur, Post Office Nokpul, Police Station Bongaon, District North 24 Paraganas used to stay at the house of her paternal uncle, Sanat Haldar (husband of her paternal aunt) at village-Gobra, Post Gobindpur, Police Station Swarupnagar, District North 24 Paraganas from last four years.
Prasanta Shikari, father, belongs to a Schedule Caste (SC) community and Bellow Poverty Line (BPL) category and he was not in a position to continue the educational expenses of his daughter, so the girl was shifted to Sanat Haldar’s house. The girl passed her secondary examination in the year 2017 from local Beri Gopalpur Adarsha Vidyalaya.
On October 25, 2018 at evening, paternal aunt of the girl was not at her resident and while she returned from the rural market; she found the girl was not at home. Neighbours were also unaware about her whereabouts. The co-villagers’ along with the family members made a search for the girl but failed to locate her.
Next day, on October 26, 2018, Prasanta Shikari submitted a written complaint to Swarupnagar Police Station; and the complaint was registered as Swarupnagar PS Case No. 537/18 date October 26, 2018, under sections 363/365 of Indian Penal Code. On the above-mentioned complaint, Prasanta Shikari alleged that her daughter has been abducted with immoral intention and provided a mobile phone number of a suspect to the police. But nobody was booked; no proper investigation over the incident was made.
More than five months passed from the day of the incident, the poor father made several visits to the Swarupnagar police station, met with the Officer in Charge (OC) and the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case, Ganesh Haldar, Sub Inspector; but all the time the OC and the IO made lame excuses and confirmed their disinterest.
Upset and dejected father of the girl, Prasanta Shikari then sent a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, North 24 Paraganas on February 25, 2019 urging immediate rescue of his daughter. He also mentioned that he repeatedly requested the Investigation Officer to rescue his daughter, but the IO not shown his due concern and somehow avoided his plea time and again.
India has substantial legislations dealing with kidnapping and abduction of women and girls and subsequent trafficking for immoral purposes and the mentioned area of Indo-Bangladesh bordering district is infamous for trafficking of girls for immoral purposes but shockingly the law enforcement agency having responsibility to investigate this malice and rescue the affected girls are in deep slumber, most of the time their inaction is basically acquiescence with the offenders.
This incident and subsequent inaction of police drew severe violation of related sections and rules of The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and The Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Rules, 2012, further the inaction of police was against the pledge; which the Government of India has taken during the Fourth World Conference on Women, known as Beijing Declaration, where the government had said that they are determined to Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
Under such circumstances we sincerely urge your urgent intervention and request for under mentioned action to extend justice to the affected family and the girl.
- A neutral, urgent and proper investigation of the above incident.
- The minor girl must be rescued immediately and rehabilitated properly.
- Perpetrators must be booked and prosecuted under specific charges.
- Role of the investigating officer of the case and Officer in Charge of the mentioned police station must be investigated.
- The lackadaisical police must be punished accordingly.