October 5, 2017
Namakkal: For a 13-year-old girl, a bonded labourer from West Bengal, life cannot be more excruciating. She was made to starve, dance nude all through the night to entertain 5 young men for whom she was a sexual obsession. They gang-raped her several times for over 2 months.
“Mukesh asked me to marry his associate. When I refused, he dragged me into the wild near the brick kiln where I was working, gagged my mouth and raped me. Four others too joined him and raped me one after another for about an hour as I lay helpless,” the girl recalls.
Gang rape became a routine in the minor’s life for over 3 months that now she betrays no emotion on her face.
She along with her family – father, pregnant mother, 6-year-old brother and 3-year-old sister – came over to Erode from Rajasthan in March after they were told that survival in Tamil Nadu is much easier than in Rajasthan, where her dad was a construction labourer, or their native state West Bengal.
“As we were standing in Erode railway station, Mukesh, an agent for migrant workers, sensed our situation and took us to a brick kiln in Senthamangalam (Namakkal district) to work as bonded labourers on an assurance that the employer would give us free food and accommodation and Rs 12,000 as monthly salary. But we were tortured there and my daughter was sexually abused and assaulted,” the girl’s father told The Covai Post.
He took his pregnant wife for medical check-up to Namakkal government hospital on June 16 and both escaped to Jaipur in the hope of rescuing their children. There the man approached a local NGO and through its network with ActionAid, the plight of the children came to the knowledge of Madurai-based SOCO Trust.
With the intervention of a team headed by SOCO Trust director A Mahaboob Batcha, deputy director S Selva Gomathy, collector M Asia Mariam directed the authorities on August 8 to rescue the kids. Revenue Divisional Officer Rajasekaran and his team swung into action and traced Mukesh to Thuriayur in Tiruchi district where he had taken the kids. They were rescued and handed over to the Namakkal district Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
“Upon hearing the news that his children have been rescued, the man came down to take them with him. Meanwhile, the girl was subjected to medical test and the report confirmed that she has been raped. Then, he lodged a complaint with the Namakkal SP urging him to arrest the accused who raped his daughter. Now, we have given shelter to the family temporarily, as they want to go back to Rajasthan,” Gomathy said, adding the girl attained puberty only three months ago.
While the district administration has issued a bonded labour release certificate and is in the process of giving them compensation under the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers, 2016, the police have filed a rape case against Mukesh and his 4 aides including Devendar and Nearaj under POCSO Act. The accused have fled to their native states and no arrests have been made yet.