A 20-year-old woman, mother of two small children and pregnant again, was allegedly sold to a man for a consideration of Rs. 11,000.
A resident of Ajhokopa under Rupauli police station of Purnia district of eastern Bihar, adjacent to Katihar, the woman was sold by a female agent known to her to Ashok Singh, 40, of Etawah (UP) on Saturday.
The buyer married the woman just hours after she came into his ‘possession’ and was on his way to his native place in UP with her, when the woman was rescued by the police with the help of an NGO.
The buyer and the woman, who acted as a go between in facilitating the deal, were arrested late Sunday, soon after the alleged wedding took place in a Durga temple at Chandpur under Kursela police station of Katihar.
Katihar SP Asgar Imam confirmed the incident on Monday. “The police are on the look out for Rupauli (Purnia) resident Dinesh Yadav, said to be the kingpin of a gang involved in trafficking of girls and women”, he said.
The incident happened when the ‘sold’ woman’s husband, a cleaner in a mini bus, was away on a trip. The woman’s two children, 4 and 5, were at home when their mother was taken away.
“The go-between offered me Rs. 11000, took me to the temple (in Kursela), tied my hands and feet and forced me to get married,” the woman later told the police.
The woman said she was too poor to support her two children. But she denied that she had agreed to be sold. “I thought the woman wanted to help me. But I had nor clue I’d be married to a man I had never seen”, she said.
“In any case, how I can marry again when I have two children and I am also pregnant” she asked.
Singh, the man arrested, on the other hand, said he had bought the mother of two for Rs. 11,000 after a deal was struck between the two women (the ‘victim’ and agent).
He said he had come to Bihar to get married and hence had bought her. Shilpi Singh, director of ‘Bhoomika Vihar’, an NGO working against trafficking of women and girls, played an important part in the woman’s rescue by bringing the matter to police notice.
She said the victim had been handed over to her parents at Birauli, also under Rupauli police station of Purnia.