64 women rescued from GB Road brothels in 38 raids, only 16 FIRs filed

GB Road Rescue

PUBLISHED IN THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Delhi Police carried out 23 raids on brothels on GB Road in 2012, rescuing 49 women and 10 raids in 2013, rescuing 15 women, the police said in an affidavit filed before the High Court last week.

But a closer look reveals that in the 23 raids, only 10 FIRs were filed. In the 10 raids this year, only six FIRs have been registered.

The affidavit was filed before a Bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmad and Justice Vibhu Bakhru after a court direction in July seeking an explanation from police for not registering FIRs.

Police stated in the affidavit that FIRs were not registered in several cases as the women rescued were older than 18 years and that many claimed to be staying in the brothel of their own will.

In its affidavit filed through the ACP of Kamla Market, police said many of the rescued women had refused to register any complaint of rape or prostitution and, therefore, FIRs could not be registered.

Further, the affidavit stated that two of the women “rescued” in April this year had been “rescued” in previous raids but had returned to GB Road following their release.

Besides, police claimed that since as FIRs had already been registered in the native places from where the women had gone missing, they cannot file a second FIR for the same. “When an FIR for kidnapping or a missing person report is already lodged in their native places, then we cannot register a second case on the same issue. The crime started at the place where the women were kidnapped and FIRs already exist there,” DCP (Central Delhi) Alok Kumar said.

The women who were rescued belonged to Nepal, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. A large number of them were from 24-Parganas district in West Bengal. Police said most of them had been sent back.

The High Court in May this year had taken suo motu cognisance of the issue after media reports that a Nepali girl rescued from a brothel had been intimidated by its owners during a hearing in a metropolitan magistrate’s court.

On July 10, the court had sought a report from police on action taken after the rescue operations after NGO Shakti Vahini told the court that police had filed the FIR in the case a week after rescuing her. The NGO also alleged FIRs were not being filed in a large number of cases.

Advocate Ravi Kant of NGO Shakti Vahini argued that police did not take into account the mental state of the girls who had been rescued. “Most are threatened, tortured and brainwashed. They don’t trust the police or the courts. It is only after days of counselling that the true story emerges,” he said.

MHA GUIDELINES FOR DELHI POLICE AND STATES

MHA ADVISORY

Trafficked girl at shelter home longs to unite with kin

Khalpara rescueAMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Class VIII student Nisha (name changed) has been on an emotional roller coaster ever since she was torn away from her parents last October. She was kidnapped from a market, gang-raped, and forced to embrace the darkness of a red light area in Siliguri, West Bengal. For close to a year, she lived a completely miserable life until she was found recently, thanks to the relentless search by her family.

But both her family and child rights activists involved in her case believe she could have been rescued much earlier if the police were proactive.

On October 19 last year, Nisha left home to go to a market with her neighbours. She was kidnapped by two men on a motorcycle and taken to Taimoor Nagar where she was gang raped and kept in confinement for a week. Then she was sold off to one Mona alias Mamta who further sold her to one Noorjahan in Khalpara, Siliguri.

An FIR was lodged on November 27 and her details were put up on ZIPNET; but her family claims police didn’t do much to find her out, forcing them to petition Delhi high court in May. In its last hearing on July 29, the court ordered police to trace the girl out without delay and report to it on August 23, the next date of hearing.

On August 10, Nisha was rescued and one of the kidnappers named Saifullah arrested. She was brought back to Delhi and kept in a children’s home. Her mother told TOI that “she was shivering in fright and her body bore injury marks. I want her to come home now,” she said.

Bharti Ali, co-director of NGO Haq: Centre for Child Rights said her NGO got in touch with NGO Shakti Vahini, who contacted West Bengal Police and got them to trace her out. “This only shows that Delhi Police didn’t do enough,” Ali said.

Rishikant from Shakti Vahini said, “The case reinforces the need of ensuring that cases of missing children are not treated as routine investigation. They cannot be left to the level of an information officer in a police station.”

HC unhappy with rehabilitation of women rescued from brothels, asks govt for plan

INDIAN EXPRESS GB ROAD RESCUEPUBLISHED IN THE INDIAN EXPRESS

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the government and police for failing to create a rehabilitation programme for women rescued from brothels.

“We are not very happy with the fact that a girl has returned to the same place that she was rescued from,” noted the court of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru after it was informed that a Nepali girl, rescued from a GB Road brothel in May, had returned to the area after her release from Nari niketan.

Police have also claimed that they had been unable to close brothels in the GB Road area as the Delhi High Court has issued a stay order on the eviction of those living in the area. “We had started closing down brothels under orders from the SDM but the owners approached the High Court which issued a stay order, pending adjudication of the writ petition,” Delhi government Standing Counsel Pawan Sharma said.

Regarding the issue of the Nepali girl, Sharma said police had been unable to trace her family and could not have kept her in the women’s home against her will.

“She is over 18 years of age and so the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate ordered that she be released from the Nirmal Chaya home,” Sharma said. He said court had taken suo motu cognisance of the issue of safety of the girls rescued from brothels, after media reports that the girl had been threatened by the brothel owners during a hearing before the magistrate’s court soon after her rescue.

The court had directed the police to trace her family and return her to them. The girl was rescued in a raid conducted by police along with the NGO Shakti Vahini. However, police told the court that her family could not be traced. The court is presently monitoring the issue of women rescued from brothels.

The Delhi Police also submitted a status report on the number of rescue operations made since January 2012, and claimed that they had rescued over 40 women in 2012 and 15 so far in 2013.

Advocate Ravi Kant, representing Shakti Vahini, said there was “no convergence between the different agencies” to create rehabilitation schemes for sex workers.

“The Supreme Court had formed a panel to create rehabilitation programme but the state-level committee, created by the Delhi government, has not met till date. This is complete travesty of justice,” he said.

The court has now asked the NGO and the government to submit affidavits on what steps can be taken to resolve the issue.

Girl kidnapped for sex trade rescued on Id

EID RESCUEDEVESH PANDEY IN THE HINDU

Victim was sold by traffickers in Bengal, reunited with family

The festival of Id brought cheers to the family of 16-year-old Shaiyra (not her real name) who was tracked down to a brothel in West Bengal on Friday, almost 10 months after she was kidnapped by human traffickers from her residence in Hazrat Nizamuddin here on Id-ul-Zuha and sold off to sex traders. The victim, who was subjected to continuous sexual abuse, is being brought to the Capital to be reunited with her family.

It was the third day of Id-ul-Zuha celebrations when Shaiyra vanished from her residence on October 29 last year. “We enquired in the neighbourhood, but there was no trace of her. No one had any information on her whereabouts,” said her brother. The family finally lodged a complaint with the area police station.

When the girl remained missing for almost nine months, the family moved a habeas corpus in the Delhi High Court, which directed the police to take all necessary action to ensure that she was brought before it. The High Court also sought a status report from a senior Delhi Police officer.

While efforts were under way to track down the girl, she made two calls to her family. The calls originated from a mobile phone registered in the name of an Uttar Dinajpur resident in West Bengal.

“However, electronic surveillance by a team from the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station revealed that it was in use at Siliguri in West Bengal. The police team, working in coordination with non-government organisations HAQ and Shakti Vahini, zeroed in on a red-light area named Khalpara in Siliguri. Subsequently, a raid was mounted and the victim was rescued from a brothel. A woman named Noorjahan has also been arrested,” said a Shakti Vahini representative. The victim’s brother was also accompanying the raiding team.

After being rescued, the girl was taken to a local hospital for medical examination. She purportedly disclosed that one Mamta had taken her along with two other girls to West Bengal on the pretext of getting her a job. However, she was later sold off to Noorjahan for Rs.8 lakh. The victim was forced to have sex with over a dozen men everyday and on refusal, would be physically tortured by the brothel owner. “She will be taken to Delhi and produced before the High Court,” said the NGO representative.