An 18-year-old help from Jharkhand, who was rescued from a house in Vasant Kunj on September 30 last year after four months of alleged torture, was allegedly threatened by two men, who travelled to her house in Sahibganj district.
When this reporter met her in Mahila Samakhya Society’s Sakhi, a home for girls in distress in Khunti district, the girl said, “Two men on a motorcycle went to my house looking for me. I was elsewhere, so they came where I was. They asked me to sign on a blank sheet of paper,” she said.
Sahibganj district is 450 km away from Ranchi; the journey to the girl’s house from the capital can take up to half a day. “The men kept saying that signing on the paper would be a good thing for me as the case I am involved in would go away and I will get lots of money,” she said.
The girl said she finally gave in and signed. “A lot of people from my village had gathered around us. Half of them wanted me to sign, the others told me not to. My mother also asked me not to sign,” she said.
She described the men as speaking “Delhi-style” Hindi and said they did not know Santhali, her mother tongue.
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The girl, who does not remember the date on which the incident happened, travelled to the SP’s office on May 11 along with members of Mahila Samakhya and submitted a complaint. Subsequently, when she was summoned to Delhi for giving evidence on July 28.
Those involved in her rescue have also raised concerns that the case against her alleged torturer has been weakened. Pointing out that charges of human trafficking, Juvenile Justice Act and SC/ST Atrocities Act have been taken away from both the accused in the case, Rishi Kanti of Shakti Vahini said, “Vandana Dhir has been charged only with attempt to murder. This could be a problem as the girl’s medico-legal report says her injuries were simple in nature.”
Dhir, the country Communications Director of French company Alstrom at the time of arrest, allegedly kept the girl in her house and tortured her throughout. Dorothi, the other accused in the case, is the alleged trafficker. She has been charged only with Section 16 of the Bonded Labour Act.
The girl, who has had to undergo seven facial reconstruction surgeries, was found with wounds all over her body after being attacked with, among others, a knife and the plug of a laptop charger.