Bengal cops slapped bill to save girl: Mom

175912812ANANYA SENGUPTA IN THE TELEGRAPH

New Delhi, Dec. 3: Delhi police rescued her daughter from the brothel a trafficker had sold her to, but Bengal police allegedly turned the mother’s joy into a nightmare by extorting her life’s savings during the trip to bring the girl back.The 45-year-old mother from Joynagar, South 24-Parganas, says she spent the better part of Rs 1 lakh — which she had saved up for her daughter’s wedding — paying the bills of the police team that accompanied her to Delhi in September for the girl’s handover.

“They demanded I pay for everything; they kept harassing me for money. I had to pay for their conveyance and meals in Delhi, their train meals and their taxi fares in Calcutta,” alleged the lady, whose husband is a vegetable vendor and TB patient.

“I cried because the policemen abused me in filthy language. There were about seven or eight of them, all from Joynagar police station where I had lodged the FIR when my 15-year-old daughter disappeared in May,” she added, speaking over the phone from Joynagar.South 24-Parganas deputy superintendent of police Papia Sultana said she knew about the lady’s charges against the policemen.“Yes, I have been told about this case and will take necessary steps. I will not allow such things to happen under my jurisdiction. If they are guilty, they will be punished,” she said over the phone.

Each state police’s anti-trafficking unit has a central government corpus to pay for police teams’ expenses while travelling outside the state. But the Joynagar police never transferred the case to the anti-trafficking unit, confirmed Sultana, the nodal officer for the South 24-Parganas anti-trafficking unit. So, the mother had to foot virtually all the bills except for the train tickets and accommodation in Delhi. If travelling police teams can show the transit warrant, the railways deduct the ticket prices from the state police’s account.

The accommodation was provided by the NGO Shakti Vahini, which had located the girl at Delhi’s red-light zone, GB Road, and tipped off the capital’s police. “The states do not give money to these travelling police teams. We pay for their stay in Banga Bhavan or make other arrangements when they come for raids,” said Ravi Kant of Shakti Vahini.

“However, there’s no reason a victim’s parent, that too a poor woman, should be asked to pay up.” The mother alleged that a Joynagar youth, who had taken her daughter to Delhi promising to marry her and then sold her off, was roaming free. She said the police were demanding money again to register a case against him.“He is from a wealthy family; a female cousin of his is a police officer in our area. He is roaming the streets with his head high, while my child refuses to even step outside home,” she said.

“The police are harassing us and not providing my daughter any security. One reason she is afraid to leave the house are the police themselves.”

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