A man claims to have gone from Balachaur to Nepal and brought back his abducted daughter in June, but the district police have shown little to no inclination towards following the trail of what appears to be an international trafficking network. No effort has been made beyond two arrests facilitated by the father in Punjab, though the rescued girl has alleged that “at least 10-15 girls” from the state have been abducted and kept in Nepal.
The 14-year-old girl — who ended up being impregnated by her alleged rapists — was kidnapped by a farm labourer from Nepal on April 3 this year from a village in Balachaur sub-division, as per the FIR lodged by the father.
By June, the father lost hope as repeated requests to the police to work on the case fell on deaf ears. A dramatic turn came on June 6, when he got a call from a Nepal mobile phone number, in which the girl told him her whereabouts. The father showed the call details to Balachaur police but no official was ready to accompany him to Nepal. The family also approached local Akali MLA and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Nand Lal, but to no avail.
Dramatic ‘rescue’ and arrests
“After nearly two weeks, I decided to go to Nepal, and hired a private taxi for Rs 40,000. I arranged money by selling some of my buffaloes,” he said. The girl was asked “to cook up a story” that her mother was on deathbed and wanted to see her one last time.
“For this meeting, we promised to pay the kidnappers Rs 50,000,” said the father.
They drove to Biratnagar in Nepal, around 70 km from Gopalganj in Uttar Pradesh. “As we informed the kidnapper that we have reached the spot, he sent my daughter to meet my wife along with two other women outside an abandoned house. As my daughter hugged me, I picked her up, put her in the car, and somehow we managed to drive away,” claimed the father.
Taxi driver Rakesh Kumar also told HT that the Innova was pelted with stones: “But with God’s grace we managed to cross the border into India, and thereafter reach Balachaur.”
Astonishingly, on June 27 the girl’s family again “spotted” the kidnappers — Naval Kishore from Nepal and Santosh from Bihar — near Sirhind. The Balachaur police were informed, and the two men were arrested. Trial is on against them and the chargesheet has been filed under Indian Penal Code (IPS) sections for rape and abduction besides provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Bigger than one kidnap
The girl, who alleges she was raped repeatedly by her kidnappers in Nepal, told HT, “At least 10-15 girls who speak Punjabi are also languishing at that place in Nepal. They also want to come back to their homes in Punjab but nobody is making any effort to bring them back.”
She added, “The kidnappers have a big racket throughout India and they sell girls in other countries.” Showing injury marks on her leg, she said the kidnappers also beat the girls up with hot iron rods. The girl’s pregnancy was terminated after filing a petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court, informed the father.
While senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sanmeet Kaur did not respond to repeated phone calls by HT, Balachaur station house officer (SHO) Palwinder Singh expressed ignorance about the details of the case. The SHO confirmed that the girl’s father had gone to Nepal and brought her back.
Deputy inspector of general (DIG) RK Jaiswal said he would seek a report from the SSP. Deputy commissioner Anindita Mitra denied having any information about the case. She added, “It is a really surprising and shocking incident. I will personally take up the matter of rehabilitation of the girl with all types of assistance.”