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For Rs 1 lakh, Jharkhand girl sold twice in Punjab, Haryana

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

SANGRUR: Within days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching his “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” campaign from Haryana, a case of a tribal girl being sold twice in Haryana and Punjab for Rs 1 lakh has come to light. The Class IX student from Naxal-hit Khunti district of Jharkhand was first sold to someone in Haryana and then to a 50-year-old man in a Sangrur village.

The girl has told Sangrur’s child protection committee that she was physically abused by the man during her stay in Sangrur.

The victim had been missing from Khunti for the past 16 days. She was taken away by a couple – Mahima and Praveen – and sold to a middleman from Pehowa town of Kurukshetra, who further sold her to Ranbir Singh. The middleman, Surinder Kumar, has been arrested in a joint operation carried out by Jharkhand and Haryana police teams near Kurukshetra.

Phillip Khuju, ASI of the Jharkhand police, said they had also seized the bank account through which Rs 1 lakh was paid by Kumar to the traffickers. “Ranbir confessed that he had paid the money to Kumar,” Khuju told TOI.

Rishi Kant, a Delhi-based activist of NGO Shakti Vahini, who accompanied the police, said, “Since the tribal belt is Naxal-infested, the girl, a Class IX student, was residing away from their family in Khunti. She was lured by the couple on the pretext of taking her to the Sunday market in Delhi.”

Inspector Roshan Lal from Khanauri said Ranbir was arrested and produced in a court in Moonak tehsil of Sangrur.

On Wednesday afternoon, a team of Jharkhand police’s anti-human trafficking cell raided Ranbir Singh’s house in Karaunda village, near the Punjab-Haryana border, and rescued the girl. Her mother had accompanied the cops.

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