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.