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West Bengal police inaction in immoral trafficking case of a Muslim woman

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, on Muslim woman victim trafficking, police inaction, and need immediate rescue:

I am writing to inform you about a case of illegal trafficking and profuse police inaction regarding the same of a marginalized Muslim teenager named Anima Khatun (name changed), daughter of Mr. Osman Ali. The victim and her husband had been residents of the village Daribas, under Dinhata police station Cooch Behar district since their marriage in 2014.
Six months following their marriage, Anima Khatun along with her husband, sister-in-law, sister-in-law's husband as well as her in-laws shifted to Delhi in search of work. They stayed there for 2 years after which they all came back to their native village. They stayed at their native residence for about one month and then they went back to Delhi. In Delhi, Anima was in touch with her family till the next six months, after which their contact snapped. Having lost touch for a long time, Anima's parents grew worried, her father eventually went to her in-laws house after he had been informed that all of them returned without his daughter. At their house he was sent back with the excuse that all of them were busy.
Sensing something wrong, Osman Ali lodged a written complaint to the police station on 19.4.2019. No immediate action was taken by the police in spite of the complaint. Osman Ali informed the police regarding the whereabouts of his daughter's in-laws' house yet the police had been reluctant to start working on the same. By then, Anima's husband had fled to Delhi, the police had also been informed of the same but day after day the police delayed enquiry in spite of the victim's father updating the complaint time and again. Finally, on 30.8.2019, Osman Ali submitted a written complaint explaining the whole incident to the S.P. of Cooch Behar where he described in detail how his son-in-law was roaming freely without his daughter and how they ignored his constant pleas of knowing the whereabouts of his daughter. During that time, they were residing at the victim's sister-in-law's house.
The Police then took Osman Ali and went to the place where his son-in-law was hiding. There the police came to know that the victim's husband had fled from the place a few days back. Osman Ali gathered information from the villagers of that area that the victim's sister-in-law's husband had been associated with trafficking. When Osman Ali informed the same to the police, the police arrested the accused and presented him at Dinhata court. However, no information could be gathered from him. In a state of immense harassment, Osman Ali had been given dates after dates but no-one could provide him with any information about his daughter. He had been informed that his son-in-law had been spotted in a Bangalore-based biscuit company which had duly been informed to the Dinhata police station but the police had not taken cognizance of the matter. Meanwhile the victim's sister-in-law's husband got bailed out of the jail. On 27 April 2022 Mr. Osman Ali, father of the victim girl, submitted another written application before the district superintendent of police alleging motivated inaction from the local police and solicited help to rescue his daughter. No action taken from the part of SP, Cooch Behar yet.
This is a gross violation of Article 23(1) which prohibits trafficking of human beings and forced labor. The accused should be charged under sections of Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA). The total incident reflects that in West Bengal transparency of criminal justice administration are in a grey zone. It also violates Goal numbers 8 and 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, which the Government of India promised to adhere with. Therefore, we seek your urgent intervention in the following matters:
  • The police should immediately take legal action against the accused and initiate a probe to find out the victim girl
  • Legal actions should be taken against the investigating officer who was reluctant to initiate an investigation in spite of being provided with all the relevant data
  • The victim's father and family members should also be provided with protection
  • The police should help the victim's father in every possible way so that the case can be resolved at the earliest
  • It should be probed whether the police (IO) is with nexus with the case

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