On 3/5/2018, we found out that the present ASI, Shailendra Singh, Civil Lines police station, Bilaspur and his wife, Shashi Singh who is a teacher at Chakarbhata, brought alongwith them a 16-year-old minor girl from Gangaloor, Bijapur some 2 years back. They promised the parents of the girl that they will give her monthly salary for household work and will take care of her studies and give her clothes etc. Thefamily of the girl, an economically marginalised gond Adivasi family, vested their good faith in the ASI and his wife and sent their daughter with them. But after bringing her to Bilaspur, the couple put the girlin confinement in their house. The minor child was not allowed to step outside the house and was not even once in these two years allowed to meet or talk to her family or go back to bijapur. Even when the parents used to call the ASI to speak with their daughter, she was never allowed to speak to them. Shortly after bringing the minor girl to Bilaspur, both started beating the child. They used to beat the minorgirl on every small thing and forced her to continue working for them without any salary. As per the girl, Shashi Singh, once kicked the girl in the eye for leaving a speck of dust while cleaning the house.Whenever they used to go out, they would lock the girl in the house and go.
The matter became public, when a local anonymous woman complained about this through women’s helpline. After which, the women’s helpline approached the Sakhi Centre and rescued the girl from theASI’s home. When the girl was recused, her condition was extremely serious. The girl had red colored patch in her eyes i.e. blood clots in her eyes and eye contusion i.e. bruise around her eye. The little fingerof the right hand was swollen and bent and the girl was profusely crying.
Initially the police was helping in the case but by the evening it seemed that the police was trying to white-wash the case. Even after the matter became public, no FIR was registered for 2 days. Later afterintervention of some lawyers and activists, FIR was finally registered late in the night around 9 PM. Medical was also conducted of the girl, which clearly spells out all the injuries that the minor girl sufferedand the reason for it, i.e. beatings. Inspite of the incident clearly being one of Human trafficking, that charge was not added to the FIR. FIR was finally registered under Section 342, 294, 506, 504, 34 IPC and STSC act.
This is not an isolated incident but an example of how huge number of Adivasi men, women, children are trafficked every year to metropolitan cities, whether through abduction or fraud. People in the cities,take advantage of the economic difficulties of the tribals and falsely promise them a good life in the name of jobs etc but are instead abused and forced to work as bonded labourers in household, factories,etc in complete violation of their human rights.
Priyanka, Nikita and Isha
Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group