GUWAHATI, March 5 � Justice has come in record time for Meena (name changed) and her family in Assam with a trial court in Sonepat sentencing one to 10 years imprisonment in a case related to sexual exploitation.
The convict, a grocer by profession, repeatedly raped Meena in a house where she worked as a bonded labourer. Meena was hardly 14 years old when she was trafficked from Assam. She was tortured and sexually exploited before Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) rescued her in June last. At that time, Meena was already three-months pregnant
�The conviction of the rapist, Sanjay Gupta, has come in a record period of seven months. Normally, the courts in India take years to decide cases. A bare 19 per cent rape cases are prosecuted,� informed Omprakash, programme officer (campaign), BBA.
It needs to be mentioned here that the Addl Sessions Judge, Special Court Sonepat, Manisha Batra has, apart from the 10-year sentence, imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Sanjay Gupta.
Trafficking cases in the North East has escalated over the years creating a lot of concern amongst civil society groups. Girls, particularly from the economically weaker section of the population and from those parts of the State that are exposed to frequent natural calamities, have been lured outside the State in the promise of job. Meena too was lured to Delhi with dreams of a better life. But hell awaited her. She was sold to a placement agency owner for Rs 25,000 who then sent her to the home of Inderjit Wadhwa in Sonepat. At the Wadhwas the girl worked for two and a half years.
While the Wadhwas often beat her up, Sanjay Gupta, the greengrocer repeatedly raped her.
Though Meena had complained to her employers, they didn�t pay heed, and the exploitation continued.
�The BBA�s rescue operation was launched following a complaint by the girl�s aunt who had spent years looking for the girl in Delhi. On a tip-off that Meena was in Sonepat, the BBA team reached Sonepat. Surprisingly, the police was uncooperative and had even sent Meena in the custody of her trafficker. It was only after BBA sought intervention of the police higher-ups that the girl was rescued just before the trafficker could flee along with her in a train,� said Omprakash.
After her rescue, Meena stayed at a BBA-run rehabilitation home for two months. She was joined with her family who arranged for termination of her pregnancy.
The BBA, which is committed to fight against child labour, human trafficking and slavery, encouraged Meena and her family to fight against the rapist and the traffickers. The BBA also fought her case all the way through.
Meanwhile, chairperson of BBA, RS Chaurasia has welcomed the sentencing of the rapist, Sanjay Gupta. But he has expressed unhappiness that the court has acquitted the other three accused in the case - Stephen, accused of trafficking, Praveen, the placement agency owner and Inderjit Wadhwa, the employer.
Chaurasia termed their acquittal as unfortunate and said the Bachpan Bachao Andolan will file an appeal against their acquittal as soon as a copy of the judgement is acquired.