M’luru cops found ‘insensitive’ to women victims

Human Rights activists have charged in a complaint submitted to Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) that Mangaluru police continue to be insensitive to the victims of such trafficking.

Women trafficking is declared as a serious violation of Human Rights.  

A few weeks ago, a woman running a canteen near a college lured a 20-year-old student and her mother with offering Rs 20 lakh if they participated in a ‘Lakshmi Puja’ planned in Udupi. Besides the canteen owner, two to three men also had accompanied the mother-daughter duo.

Instead of stopping in Udupi, the vehicle stopped at a secluded building in Banavasi, Uttara Kanara district. Despite protests, the daughter and mother were forced to participate in a tantrik ritual complete with ‘mandala rangoli drawings’. When the student regained consciousness in wee hours, she refused to cooperate.

Frustrated by the turn of events, the canteen owner abandoned the victimised mother-daughter duo in Surathkal. On returning home, the student began behaving as though she was possessed. This worried her parents and four sisters. When the victim mustered the courage to file a case against the suspected racketeers, IGP (Western range) Arun Chakravarthy directed them to meet DCP (Crime) Uma Prashanth.

The student victim was forced to wait for two hours with the DCP giving priority to a meeting on road safety. On the DCP’s directions, the victim approached the Kavoor police station. But Kavoor station house officer (SHO), though aware of 'Zero FIR’, (FIR can be filed any police station) refused to register a case.

At about 11 pm, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Panambur) Shrinivas Gowda R intervened and registered the case. The jurisdictional Suratkal police later interrogated them until wee hours on February 2. Gowda told DH that it was not a case of kidnapping or trafficking but a case of cheating. The victim was an adult and had gone to Banawasi of her own will, he said.

Based on the cheating complaint, one Hyder was arrested and remanded to judicial custody after being produced before a court. The Swamiji alias Anantesh, who had conducted the tantrik ritual at an Inspection Bungalow in Banawasi is absconding. They had also asked the Women and Child Welfare Department to counsel the victim, who suffered emotional abuse.

Sundar Poojary (who handed over charge as deputy director of Women and Child Welfare to District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) before being transferred to Raichur on Monday), clarified that he had not received any communication from Panambur ACP on counselling a victim of trafficking. The victim was also not subjected to any medical examination to rule out sexual assault.

A conversation between the tantrik and victim, which was recorded on the victim’s cellphone after returning home, reveals that the suspected trafficker had filmed the entire tantrik ritual conducted in the IB. He even threatened the victim and her family with eternal misfortune if they did not come back to 'complete the ritual’.

The victim’s mother said they accepted the offer as the canteen owner was from the same Billava community. “Due to debts incurred by my alcoholic husband, and mounting expenses from two married daughters who were nursing newborns, I ignored the safety of my daughter,” she said amidst sobs.

Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) Chairman Justice D H Waghela told DH that the insensitive handling of women trafficking cases by police officials in Mangaluru had come to his notice. “The facts will be ascertained by our investigating officers soon,” he assured.

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M’luru cops found ‘insensitive’ to women victims

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