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Trafficking whiff in Malda

THE TELEGRAPH KOLKATTA

Malda, March 10: Malda police arrested a youth suspected of involvement in a girl trafficking racket which could have links to Gulf and rescued a 19-year-old girl.

Both, the police believe, hail from Khulna in Bangladesh. The arrested youth, Tushar Shah, was produced before the court of the chief judicial magistrate and has been remanded in three days’ police custody.

The police said around 2.30pm yesterday, local people at Rathbari in Malda town noticed the girl and youth were arguing and the girl was crying. They detained them and informed the Englishbazar police station.

“They had entered India through the international border at Hili illegally. The youth was supposed to take the girl to Delhi by train yesterday, but our police managed to arrest him before he could leave. The documents seized from him are of suspicious nature and we believe he was taking the girl to Delhi to be sold off and that he is part of a trafficking ring. He has been remanded in police custody for three days. We are investigating the matter,” said Prasun Banerjee, the Malda police superintendent.

“We found a birth certificate in the name of Mohammad Tushar Shah issued from Khulna in Bangladesh dated October 28, 1991. His father is named as Naushad Shah and mother Marjina Begum. However, he also possesses an Indian voter identity card and a PAN card, also issued in India,” the officer said.

The investigator pointed out that the ration card had been issued to him from Rampurhat in Birbhum district in 2011. The officer also said that a primer to learn Arabic and a SIM card of Bangladesh’s Grammen phone mobile service were seized from him.

The multiple-identity papers that the youth possessed have led the police to believe that he was part of a trafficking racket with links to the Gulf. According to Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based NGO working against human trafficking in co-operation with the police in north Bengal, trafficking of women and girls was a major problem in the area. “From 2012 till present, 43 girls from north Bengal, mostly minors have been rescued from in and around Delhi and at least five are from Malda. In the past week we have helped the police rescue two girls from Darjeeling, one each from Jalpaiguri and Malda,” he said.

According to a report placed in the Rajya Sabha on March 6, this year, 19,254 minor girls have gone missing in 2011.

“Of them, only 7,227 have been traced and 12,027 still remain missing,” he pointed out. About 50 per cent of these missing minor girls were from the six north Bengal districts, he added. “These girls are sold off in brothels in Delhi and adjacent states like Haryana. Some of them are also trafficked away to the Middle East,” Rishi Kant said.

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