NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has served notice to the Government of Rajasthan on the reported auctioning of girls on stamp papers and the refusal thereof resulting in the rape of their mothers to settle disputes on the diktats of caste panchayats in the state. The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report, said a press release.
Reportedly, whenever there is a dispute between the two parties, particularly involving financial transactions and loans etc, girls aged between 8-18 are auctioned to recover money, added the press release.
These girls are being sent to UP, MP, Mumbai, Delhi and even foreign countries and subjected to physical abuse, torture and sexual assault in slavery. The media reports have documented the ordeal of many victims of such horrendous crimes, as per the statement.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to human rights violations of the victims of such abominable practice. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Rajasthan calling for a detailed report on the matter, along with an action taken report, qua measures already taken and if not, proposed to be taken to prevent such gory incidents.
The report must also contain how the state government is ensuring the functions of the gram panchayat, as per the constitutional provisions or Panchayati Raj law to eradicate the caste-based system impinging the human rights and the right to dignity of girls and women in the State.
Notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Rajasthan, to submit a detailed report mentioning the initiation of criminal prosecution against the perpetrators of such crime and their abettors/sympathizers. It must also contain the status of cases, including the registration of FIRs, charge-sheet, arrest, if any, in such incidents and the mechanism initiated to apprehend the people involved in such systematic crimes of flesh trade in the state.
The report must also mention steps being taken or proposed to be taken against the public servant(s), who purported to have neglected perpetually prevention of such incidents. The response from both the Chief Secretary and DGP is excepted within four weeks.
The Commission, in the meanwhile, has also asked its Special Rapporteur, Umesh Kumar Sharma, to visit and inspect the affected areas in Rajasthan and submit a comprehensive report on the incidents noted and the prevailing practice in the area, at the earliest, preferably, not later than three months.
According to the media report, carried out on October 26, caste panchayats in Rajasthan are committing this crime like in Syria and Iraq where the girls are enslaved. Reportedly, in Bhilwada, whenever there is any dispute between the two parties, they instead of going to the police, approach the caste panchayats for its settlement. It becomes the starting point of making the girls slave, if they are not sold, their mothers are ordered to be raped.
The news report further reveals that in order to pay off Rs 15 lakh debt, a caste panchayat forced a man to sell his sister first and even after this, when the debt was not cleared, he was forced to sell his 12-year-old daughter. The buyer purchased the girl for Rs 8 lakh. After that, all five sisters became slaves, but still their father could not pay off his debt.
In another incident a man was forced to sell his house and further take a loan of Rs 6 lakh for the treatment of his wife, who later died. He took Rs 6 lakh more for the treatment of his mother. In order to settle the loan, he sold his small daughter for Rs 6 lakh to some people, who took her to Agra. She was sold three times and became pregnant four times. (ANI)