A journalist has been arrested for allegedly raping two girls, one of whom is a minor, after filming a video showing them as victims of immoral trafficking. But social activists say it might be a plot by the police and traffickers against the scribe.
Vijay Diwaker, a freelance journalist who publishes a local newspaper 'Sansani of India', had filmed a sting video against immoral trafficking in the Badarpur area in southeast Delhi. He had then filed a complaint in the Badarpur police station April 6.
Following this, Samar Mandal, his wife Kanad and their two associates Mukesh and Manu were arrested for running a trafficking racket. However, during investigations the victims testified against Diwaker, alleging that after filming the 'sting video', he took them to his office and raped them, police said. Diwaker was arrested on Saturday.
But child rights activists feel it could be ploy to frame the journalist. "Something is amiss. The journalist has probably not done this. It cannot be that he makes a sting and after that goes and rapes the victims for whose welfare he took the risk of making the video in the first place," Kailash Satyarthi, founding member of the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, told IANS.
"It is common in immoral trafficking cases that the local police is in connivance with the traffickers. This could be the case here - prima facie it looks like a farce to me," added Satyarhi, who has championed the cause of child rights and lobbied against immoral trafficking.
In the sting, Diwaker is seen as the decoy customer and the Mandals are seen demanding Rs.30,000 for the sale of a 12-year-old girl. Another video showed Diwaker paying the sum, while the husband-wife (Mandals) duo are seen with two girls, aged 12 and 18 years, police officials said.
"The girls gave a statement before the magistrate that he (Diwaker) molested them once or twice. Based on that we arrested him Saturday and he is now in judicial custody," an investigating officer said.
Diwaker, a resident of Pul Prahalad Pur in southeast Delhi, faces charges of molestation of a minor and punishment for rape.
The 12-year-old also told police that she knew Manu, who had allegedly forced her into illegal activities earlier.
The 18-year-old, who is also a mother of two, told police that she came here from Mumbai in search of work last September and found work as a domestic help at the Mandals' house. The couple, she alleged, later sold her to Diwaker.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has, meanwhile, said that the case will be probed and further action will be taken Monday.
NCPCR's Sandhya Bajaj told IANS: "We will study the case and if there is indeed something wrong, we will take all action possible in the purview of law on Monday."