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On child smugglers’ trail, Patiala police to carry out raids in Manali

The decision was taken after police collected clues including names of the hotels and guest houses where the accused took minor girls and forced them into prostitution, during interrogation.

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2018 13:18 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
child smugglers,child abuse,child trafficking
(Representative image )

Four days after the Patiala police busted a gang of child smugglers, the police team has decided to conduct raids at Manali in Himachal Pradesh.

The decision was taken after police collected clues including names of the hotels and guest houses where the accused took minor girls and forced them into prostitution, during interrogation.

The matter had come to light on August 24, after the district child security officer Harpreet Singh Sandhu had rescued a 13-year-old, who was allegedly sold to the gang members by her father for Rs 30,000 in April.

The gang had smuggled the girl and pushed her into prostitution in Manali.

Police had arrested Nandini, 26, and one of the victims’ father on Friday. Both were sent to judicial custody on Sunday. Civil Lines station house officer (SHO) Jatinderpal Singh said that during interrogation,

Nandini confessed to the police about the places where the girl was taken in the past four months.

“We have sent a police team to conduct raids at these places so that other people involved in the crime can be arrested and for further investigation,” the SHO said. Police have also booked Lovepreet Kaur, a local resident, with whom Nandini was running an orchestra group in Patiala.

The cops had received information about the case on the child helpline number. During probe, it also came to fore that Nandini and her accomplice had approached the victim’s father and told him that they will pay him Rs 30,000 per month, if he lets his daughter work for them.

In her statement before the child welfare committee, the victim deposed that she was sexually and mentally tortured by the accused.

“Nandini took her to Manali, where she was forced into prostitution by Lovepreet. She was forced to live in inhuman conditions and was not fed for days,” the statement mentioned.

Nandini had brought the victim back to Patiala a few days back after the latter’s mother insisted on meeting her.

After reaching Patiala, the victim went to her neighbours and contacted the child security department.

A case was registered at the Civil Lines police station under Sections 372 (selling minor for purposes of prostitution), 373 (buying minor for purposes of prostitution), 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Missing 8-yr-old girl: One month on, no major breakthrough

A month ago an eight- year-old girl went missing while playing outside her house at New Yadavindera Colony in Patiala, the police is yet to gather key clues about the minor’s whereabouts.

Police claimed that they have scanned some closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footages and have managed to trace the girl in one of them.

“The team is yet to get any key clues about the girl’s whereabouts,” said Anaj Mandi station house officer (SHO) Harry Boparai.

The SHO said that the girl’s father Dharminder Singh, a rickshaw puller, told police that his daughter went missing while she was playing outside their house on July 26. Singh said at the time of the incident, his wife had gone to a nearby gurdwara and he was inside the house.

“In one of the videos, the girl can be seen roaming alone in the area, while the other CCTV footages are still under investigation,” police said.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 13:16 IST