By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala/Jaipur, June 16 (IANS) Mired in grinding poverty and thus ‘sold’ into marriage at a tender age, a 14-year-old girl trafficked from Tripura to Rajasthan stares at a bleak future even as authorities mull over their next course of action to reunite her with her family back home in northern Tripura.
The teenager is lodged at Swadhara Women Home (SWH) shelter at Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan even as the State Commission of Protection of Child Rights’ (RSCPCR) senior member Shailendra Pandya has taken up up her case with the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
To add to her woes, the girl is said to be two-and-a-half months pregnant, a result of her ‘marriage’ with a Rajasthan resident who claims to be her ‘husband’.
Pandya said that once legal formalities are taken care of in Rajasthan, the Tripura Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TCPCR) or other such organisations can take the teenager back and ensure her well-being.
However, the Tripura Police, the TCPCR besides her poverty-hit family living in Uttar Ratacherra village in Unakoti district of northern Tripura are allegedly not proactive in ensuring her return.
Pandya told IANS over phone from Jaipur that the girl had alleged in her statement to authorities that she had been sold for Rs 1.5 lakh.
“According to the girl, a Rajasthan man had claimed to have married her and keeping her at his home. I came to know about the case of purchase of the girl for Rs 1.5 lakh on June 1. The girl is pregnant. As the issue is serious, I informed the NCPCR,” Pandya said.
“The case was unearthed when she fled the man’s house. On May 2, the man filed a missing complaint in Mandawa police station, claiming that his ‘wife’ had gone missing. Police traced her on May 4, but the teenager refused to go with the person and sought protection, leading to Jhunjhunu Sub-Divisional Magistrate to order her lodging at the Jhunjhunu shelter home,” Pandya said.
The Jhunjhunu SDM had also directed the Mandawa police to reinvestigate the matter while the Rajasthan State Commission of Protection of Child Rights directed the Child Welfare Committee to file an FIR against the accused under the Juvenile Justice Act, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and anti-trafficking law.
Tripura’s Unakoti District Superintendent of Police Ratiranjan Debnath said that after the NCPCR ordered, he send a detail factual report to the panel on the case.
“The girl’s family is extremely poor. Before sending the report, we talked to the family but they are not so serious to take her back. They never informed police about the girl going missing,” the district police chief told IANS.
When contacted, Tripura Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Nilima Ghosh told IANS that she is “not aware” of the matter and would talk to police and Child Welfare Committee in Unakoti.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])