'In 2005, when BJP….': Gehlot on girls being auctioned in Rajasthan

Oct 29, 2022 12:06 PM IST

Bhilwara girls auctioned on stamp papers: The horrific incident was highlighted in a NHRC report released earlier this week.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday deflected criticism of his government over horrific reports of girls being auctioned on stamp papers, declaring 'the incident happened in 2005... when the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power'. "In 2019 we came and exposed it... 21 accused were arrested, three died and one is absconding. Two children died... rest went to their homes. It was turned into national news," Gehlot was quoted by news agency ANI.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File / PTI Photo)
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File / PTI Photo)

On Friday Gehlot - whose administration has come under heavy fire from the BJP on this issue - vowed to track down all accused, and told reporters 'a proper probe will be conducted... (and) no one will be spared'.

The chief minister's fire-fighting attempt came after the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Women, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Rajasthan State Commission for Women sought reports. The NCPCR and NCW will be sending investigative teams.

READ | 'No one will be spared': Gehlot on girls being auctioned in Rajasthan

Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal also wrote to Gehlot, seeking action against those responsible and directions to state law enforcement agencies to crack down on all such activities. "... this racket is probably being run by influential people," she wrote.

Maliwal's mention of 'influential people' behind the criminal acts echo those of NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo, who Friday said organised child trafficking - such as that reported from Bhilwara - cannot survive without 'political and administrative support'. "... government officials and politicians are involved."

READ | 'Officials, politicians involved': Child rights chief on trafficking reports

Controversy over reports girls were being sold - to cover loan repayments - and their mothers were threatened with rape if they did not allow their daughters to be auctioned broke Thursday after a notice by the NHRC.

The auctions and threats, the report indicated, were carried out on orders from caste panchayats that were approached to settle disputes, and the girls were being sent to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Delhi and even abroad.

They were also being subjected to physical abuse, torture and sexual assault.

With input from ANI

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    Chandrashekar is a Senior Editor at Hindustan Times. A journalist with 11+ years across print and digital media, he also has degrees in Sociology and Economics. He has worked in the political, business, sports, and entertainment news spaces, but is happiest just watching football.

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