Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Girl, 12, sold by mom, rescued from Bhiwandi
Good samaritan, who agreed to help "fellow Bengalis in distress" and sheltered the victim, alerted the girl's family in a Bengal village. A 12-year-old girl from a West Bengal village, who was sold off to a pimp by her mother for Rs 50,000, was on Thursday morning rescued from Bhiwandi in a joint operation by the Bhiwandi Crime Branch and the Kolkata Police. The girl, who the cops said was "highly traumatised", was found in a house on the outskirts of the township, and has been reunited with her father and grandfather, while her mother and the pimp are on the run. Rahim Mandal, the owner of the house where the girl had been kept, is an acquaintance of the pimp, identified as Babu, but he had no idea the victim was being pushed into flesh trade. Mandal, who alerted the victim's family, said in his statement that Babu and the girl's mother told him that they were going to Pune to find a groom for her, and requested him to let her stay in his house for a few days. Police said they have managed to trace the victim's mother and Babu to Pune (the names of the girl's family members have been withheld to protect her identity). The girl's statement The girl, a school dropout, is a resident of Panagarh in Bardhaman district, 150 km from Kolkata. She told police that her parents couldn't afford to educate her after her father lost employment a few years ago. In her statement, she said that her mother took her to Kolkata on October 31 without informing her father, and together with Babu, they boarded a train to Mumbai from Howrah the next day. The victim said in her statement that her mother told her she couldn't bear to see her daughter suffering in poverty, and had chosen a wealthy groom for her, who had already paid Rs 50,000 for the journey. She told police that she had never met Babu earlier, and the moment they boarded the train, her mother switched off the mobile phone. The girl's father lodged a complaint at the local police station saying his wife and daughter had been kidnapped, even as Babu took them to Kalyan and handed her over to a man identified as Zahid. The breakthrough Police said that after spending around a week in cheap lodges around CST, Mohammad Ali Road and Mumbai Central, Babu managed to contact his accomplice in Kalyan, a history sheeter identified as Zahid. After staying in Kalyan for a couple of weeks, Babu and Zahid approached an acquaintance in Bhiwandi, Rahim Mandal, who told police that he agreed to help out "fellow Bengalis" as they appeared in distress. Leaving the girl in Mandal's care, her mother and Babu went away, and in a matter of days, several 'prospective grooms' started visiting Mandal's house. "I suspected something was seriously wrong, and asked the girl to contact her family. She used my phone to call up her grandfather in their village, and I was stunned to hear that they thought she had been kidnapped." It still took police two days to trace the girl. An officer from Bhiwandi Crime Branch said, "Mandal switched off his mobile phone out of fear, and waited for Babu to take away the girl. Fortunately, we managed to trace her location." The West Bengal Police also managed to establish contact with their counterparts in Thane, and the girl was rescued around 10 am Thursday. Senior Inspector (Bhiwandi Crime Branch) Nilesh Raut said, "Our team has left for Pune to arrest the girl's mother and Babu, both of whom have been traced. We were helped by the Thane Crime Branch in this operation."