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Trafficking: 15-year-old returns to Khunti village

IMG_2116PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

RANCHI: Fifteen-year-old Meenu was raped every night by a man old enough to be her father. She was beaten up when she protested. The 50-year-old man, Ranbir Singh, had ‘married’ her on January 7 in Punjab.

Today, the thought of conjugal life terrifies Meenu who was kidnapped from Jharkhand’s Khunti village and sold off for Rs 1 lakh by traffickers earlier this month.

A Class IX student, Meenu, was rescued on Wednesday night from Punjab’s Sangrur district in a joint operation of Jharkhand Police, Punjab Police and Delhi-based NGO Shakti Vahini. The police have arrested the trafficker, Surinder Kumar, and the person who bought her, Ranbir Singh. The rescue operation was carried out after the trafficker from Ranchi, Malinta alias Mahima, was arrested from Khunti last Friday.

Meenu was brought to Ranchi along with the two traffickers on Friday. The survivor revealed the harrowing tale of sexual assault she had to undergo during her stay in Punjab.

She told TOI, “Mahima, my neighbour, persuaded me to join her on a trip to Delhi for a few days.

When I went with her, she instead took me to Punjab and locked me up in a room for two days. On the third day, the old man came and forcibly applied sindoor (vermillion) on my forehead. I cried and requested him to let me go but he took me to his house.”

What followed thereafter has traumatized the 15-year-old girl. “I was repeatedly raped by the old man every night and beaten up too. He spoke only in Punjabi but I could understand that he said he had bought me and I was his commodity,” Meenu said.

Meenu’s mother, who accompanied the police to Punjab, was in tears when she saw her daughter’s condition.

Like any other parent, Meenu’s mother is trying to help her lead a normal life and forget about the past. She said, “Once she recovers from her trauma, I will send her to a hostel for studies where she will be safe.

We are poor but I want her to pursue higher education so that she becomes self-dependent. Once she completes her education, I will look for a suitable groom and get her married.”

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