INDIA/BANGLADESH: Police refuse to take action to rescue a girl trafficked to Bangladesh

December 8, 2011  ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-243-2011

December 2011
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INDIA/BANGLADESH: Police refuse to take action to rescue a girl trafficked to Bangladesh

ISSUES: Child trafficking; police inaction; corruption
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), a human rights organisation working in West Bengal, India about the case of a 15-year-old girl, who was trafficked from the state to neighbouring Bangladesh. Though the family of the victim approached the local police, the officers refused to provide help. Even though the police registered the complaint, it is alleged that since then the police have done nothing to investigate the case or to rescue the girl from Bangladesh. It is suspected that the police, have accepted bribes from the cross-border child trafficking gang, and hence their inaction.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The victim in the case is Sarswati Kabiraj (name changed), aged about 15 years, a resident of Chotto Sehana, under the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station in 24 North Parganas district of West Bengal.

It is reported that on 24 October 2011, the victim in case eloped with one Mr Pikul Mondal after she left home to attend school. MASUM’s fact-finding reveals that Pikul, is suspected to be a cross border smuggler from Bangladesh who used to visit India often. It is also suspected that the victim and Pikul knew each other. The victim’s family allege that Pikul had promised the victim that he would marry her should she run away with him into Bangladesh.

The Indo-Bangladesh border is relatively porous and due to several reasons people living on both sides of the international border, often illegally cross over to both sides as it suits them. This cross border traffic, though often illegal is also a source of information for families and people living on either side of the border about the happenings on the other side of the border.

Reports from Bangladesh and those made available to MASUM suggest that Pikul had in fact forced the victim to cross over to Bangladesh. It is alleged that once inside Bangladesh, Pikul sold the victim to one Mr Nasir Mastan. It is reported that Nasir held the victim captive in his custody and has used the girl for sex trade. MASUM’s enquiry reveals that Nasir is a pimp operating along the Indo-Bangladesh border region.

On the same day, which is on 24 October, the father of the victim filed a complaint at the Gaighata Police Station concerning the kidnapping and trafficking of his daughter. However the police officers did not register a crime based on the complaint, but merely made an entry in the General Diary maintained at the police station concerning the receipt of the complaint. Since then the police have made no attempt to investigate the case.

It is alleged that child and human traffickers operating along the Indo-Bangladesh region use mobile telephone connections obtained in India. The father of the victim has handed over to the police the telephone numbers used by the suspects, 9333040716 used by Pikul and 9333618391 used by Nasir. To obtain a mobile telephone connection in India, one has to go though the filing of a written application submitting along with the application the address and identification proof of the applicant. This means the police could easily trace those who have helped the suspects obtain telephone connections in India and through them, try locating the suspects and even to a certain extent combat the operations of the traffickers. Unfortunately, the police, just as in several other cases reported by the AHRC through MASUM, have opted to remain silent and inactive in this case. It is widely believed that it is relatively impossible for the traffickers to operate in the border region should the local police be vigilant. Various criminals, including human traffickers, exploit the acute state of poverty along the Indo-Bangladesh region. However it appears that most of their activities receives silent support from the local police. It is alleged that this is possible only because the criminals bribe the police, as it is suspected in this case.

Finding that the complaint with the police rendered no result, the victim’s family met Mr Birendra Nath Mondal, a member of the Duma Gram Panchayat. They informed Nath about the incident and requested for help to rescue the girl from Bangladesh. However the panchayat also did not take any action in the case. The family now fears that they would be never able to rescues their daughter from across the border. Hence the appeal.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The case involves law enforcement agencies operating from both sides of the border. Without their coordinated help the victim cannot be rescued. The AHRC is aware that the conditions that affect law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh are equally bad and appalling as it is in the Indian side. To rescue the girl, the governments in India and Bangladesh should direct their respective law enforcement agencies to work together. Kidnapping and sex trade is a crime both in Bangladesh and India. However, due to widespread corruption, poverty, the lucrative nature of the business and the cooperation the criminals receive from corrupt law enforcement officers in India and Bangladesh, the trade flourishes in the region, often to the detriment of minors, of both gender.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities listed below asking for their urgent intervention in this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography seeking an intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA/BANGLADESH: Girl trafficked to Bangladesh should be rescued immediately

Name of victims:
Sarswati Kabiraj (name changed), aged about 15 years, a resident of Chotto Sehana, under the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station in 24 North Parganas district of West Bengal (presently believed to be in the custody of a child trafficker Mr Nasir Mastan of Putkhali village, Benapol post, under the jurisdiction of Benapol Police Station, Jassore district, Bangladesh)
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr Pikul Mondal, son of Mr Karim Mondal
2. Mr Nasir Mastan
Both having addresses at Putkhali village, Benapol post, under the jurisdiction of Benapol Police Station, Jassore district, Bangladesh
3. Police officers on duty at Gaighata Police Station, 24 North Parganas district, West Bengal
Date of incident: 24 October 2011 and continuously thereon
Place of incident: Within the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station

I am writing to express my concern regarding the kidnapping and trafficking of a girl, from Chotto Sehana, within the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station, into Bangladesh by suspected child traffickers and to seek your intervention to rescues the girl from Bangladesh and to help her return to India to join her parents.

The victim in the case is Sarswati Kabiraj (name changed), aged about 15 years, a resident of Chotto Sehana, under the jurisdiction of Gaighata Police Station in 24 North Parganas district of West Bengal.

It is reported that on 24 October 2011, the victim in case eloped with one Mr Pikul Mondal after she left home to attend school. MASUM’s fact-finding reveals that Pikul, is suspected to be a cross border smuggler from Bangladesh who used to visit India often. It is also suspected that the victim and Pikul knew each other. The victim’s family allege that Pikul had promised the victim that he would marry her should she run away with him into Bangladesh.

I am informed that the Indo-Bangladesh border is relatively porous and due to several reasons people living on both sides of the international border, often illegally cross over to both sides as it suits them. This cross border traffic, though often illegal is also a source of information for families and people living on either side of the border about the happenings on the other side of the border.

Reports from Bangladesh and those made available to MASUM, that reported the case to the AHRC suggest that Pikul had in fact forced the victim to cross over to Bangladesh. It is alleged that once inside Bangladesh, Pikul sold the victim to one Mr Nasir Mastan. It is reported that Nasir held the victim captive in his custody and has used the girl for sex trade. MASUM’s enquiry reveals that Nasir is a pimp operating along the Indo-Bangladesh border region.

On the same day that is on 24 October the father of the victim filed a complaint at the Gaighata Police Station concerning the kidnapping and trafficking of his daughter. However the police officers did not register a crime based on the complaint, but merely made an entry in the General Diary maintained at the police station concerning the receipt of the complaint. Since then the police have made no attempt to investigate the case.

It is alleged that child and human traffickers operating along the Indo-Bangladesh region use mobile telephone connections obtained in India. The father of the victim has handed over to the police the telephone numbers used by the suspects, 9333040716 used by Pikul and 9333618391 used by Nasir. To obtain a mobile telephone connection in India, one has to go though the filing of a written application submitting along with the application the address and identification proof of the applicant. This means the police could easily trace those who have helped the suspects obtain telephone connections in India and through them, try locating the suspects and even to a certain extent combat the operations of the traffickers. Unfortunately, the police, just as in several other cases reported by the AHRC through MASUM, have opted to remain silent and inactive in this case. It is widely believed that it is relatively impossible for the traffickers to operate in the border region should the local police be vigilant. Various criminals, including human traffickers, exploit the acute state of poverty along the Indo-Bangladesh region. However it appears that most of their activities receives silent support from the local police. It is alleged that this is possible only because the criminals bribe the police, as it is suspected in this case.

Finding that the complaint with the police rendered no result, the victim’s family met Mr Birendra Nath Mondal, a member of the Duma Gram Panchayat. They informed Nath about the incident and requested for help to rescue the girl from Bangladesh. However the panchayat also did not take any action in the case. The family now fears that they would be never able to rescues their daughter from across the border.

I therefore request you:

1. That immediate actions be taken in India and Bangladesh so that the girl is located;
2. That the governments of India and Bangladesh work together to rescue the girl and transfer her to India;
3. That the government of India order an investigation into the alleged conduct of the Gaighata Police Station, of they having taken no interest in the case;
4. That the West Bengal state police directed to take immediate actions to curb the alarmingly high rate of human trafficking reported from villages along the Indo-Bangladesh border;
5. The state government of West Bengal takes immediate actions to undertake a study and address through active steps the acute state of poverty in the villages along the Indo-Bangladesh border within India.

Yours sincerely,

—————-
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Ms. Mamata Banerjee
Chief Minister
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700 001
West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: +91 33 2214 5480 / 2214 1341
Email: cm_wb@nic.in

2. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd

3. Ms. Sahara Khatun MP
Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7169069 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788 (O)
E-mail: minister@mha.gov.bd

4. Mr. Samar Ghosh, IAS
Chief Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700001
West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: +91 33 2214 4328
Email: chiefsec@wb.gov.in

5. Mr. G. D. Gautama, IAS
Additional Chief Secretary (Home)
Government of West Bengal
Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata – 700001
West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: +91 33 22143001
Email: sechome@wb.gov.in

6. Mr. Naparajit Mukherjee, IPS
Director General & Inspector General of Police
Government of West Bengal
Writers Buildings, Kolkata-1
West Bengal
INDIA
Fax: +91 33 2214 4498 / 2214 5486
Email: dgp_westbengal@gmail.com

7. Prof. Shantha Sinha
Chairperson
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
Government of India
5th Floor, Chanderlok Building, 36, Janpath
New Delhi – 110 001
INDIA
Fax: +91 11 23731584
Email: shantha.sinha@nic.in

8. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandker
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters’
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / +880 2 717 6451 / +880 2 717 6677
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-243-2011

 

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