Dad’s 3-month search for lost daughter ends in city brothel

AMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: In the chaos of busy Swami Shradhanand Marg, commonly referred to as GB Road and known as the capital’s largest red light area, a father wept inconsolably as he hugged his 18-year-old daughter rescued from a hidden chamber in the wall inside a filthy brothel on Thursday.

A Class X student aspiring to be a nurse, the girl was kidnapped from outside her house in a village in the South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal in February this year. She was trafficked to Delhi but police in her home district only registered an FIR in the case on Friday even though the matter was reported by the family on February 15. It was dumped as a mere diary entry of a “missing complaint”.

Even in Delhi all of Friday was spent in deciding whether an FIR should be registered here or not. Finally Delhi Police decided to leave it to the police in West Bengal to register a case and carry out investigations.

This case brings to the fore the plight of the families of missing children. The victim’s father, who is a daily-wage labourer, reveals that the girl was studying for her Class X exam in March. A committed student, the victim stepped out of the house for a short break from her studies and never returned. Her parents and two elder brothers searched in vain and their complaint to the local police failed to make an impact as the records show no effort was made to register a case by police.

Not one to give up hope, the victim’s father contacted NGO Shakti Vahini which had rehabilitated another girl who was trafficked from their village. “I thought maybe someone has taken away my daughter to Delhi like the other girl,” the father told TOI. Some time during the next three months, the father said, an unknown person contacted him to inform she had been kidnapped and kept in a brothel at G B Road. The family was told she was desperate to return home.

The victim’s family joined forces with activists from NGO Shakti Vahini to launch a rescue operation through Delhi Police. The victim’s brother who makes a living by doing embroidery revealed how they went up the narrow stairs to the dingy brothel and finally pulled her out from a hidden chamber. Another girl from Nepal was rescued from a similar chamber in the wall. The victim’s brothers now want to take her home to her mother who has been sick since her disappeared. But the family reunion will have to wait till early next week as the trial court sent her to Nari Niketan for care till final orders are issued for her rehabilitation.

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