In Rajasthan’s Mewat region, women are bought around Diwali

TIMES OF INDIA

JAIPUR/ALWAR: While people across the country buy gold and silver to celebrate Diwali and Dhanteras, in Rajasthan’s Mewat region girls are “purchased” to mark the occasion. It is the grim reality of rampant human trafficking in the region, consisting of Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts.

Girls bought before Diwali are married off to older men on the occasion of “Dev Uthani Ekadashi”, considered an auspicious day — this year, it falls on November 24. Alwar police arrested two men earlier this month and rescued three girls who were to be sold on Diwali and then married off to much older men. Police records too show a rise in human trafficking cases during the two-three months prior to Diwali. The skewed sex ratio is considered the primary reason behind the trade.

Bharatpur’s Sevar police had on November 12 raided a house in Ludhavai village and arrested two “agents”. Cops also rescued three girls being kept captive there. “Two men – Supriya Kumar and Mukesh Upadhyaya — had purchased the girls from one Laxman Jat. The girls were residents of Jabalpur district in MP. The girls say they were lured to Bharatpur on the pretext of a religious fair. The agents later confined them and told them they would be sent to their in-laws on Diwali,” said Sevar SHO Akhilesh Kumar.

One of the accused Supriya Kumar has cases of rape and human trafficking registered against him in Maharashtra. He told the police that he had so far brought about 50 girls to Mewat region and sold them.

SHO Kumar said the agents sell the girls before Diwali, preferably on Dhanteras, after getting some advance. These girls are then married to the buyer on some auspicious day. The agents get the rest of money on the day of the wedding. Cases of human trafficking were also reported in Dholpur district on October 5 and October 24. Rajendra Chouhan, in charge of Dholpur police’s anti-human trafficking cell, said these cases take place throughout the year but the number increases during Diwali. Police said 25 cases of human trafficking were registered two months prior to Diwali in Dholpur district alone.

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