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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Jharkhand: ST Commission notice to DGP, SSP after teen’s father alleges cops took her away from home

The girl is caught amidst a running feud between two senior leaders of the ruling JMM-led alliance in Jharkhand and the opposition BJP, which is turning murkier by the day.

Written by Abhishek Angad | Ranchi |
Updated: August 24, 2021 7:15:30 am
Special Judge Bharti Kale relied on CCTV footage to convict the man on charges of kidnapping and sexual harassment under relevant sections of the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. (File Photo)

THE NATIONAL Commission for Scheduled Tribes has sent a notice to Director General of Police, Jharkhand, and Senior Superintendent of Police, Ranchi, after the father of a 15-year-old girl filed a complaint, alleging the police took her away from home and presented her before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) without mentioning any reason.

The girl is caught amidst a running feud between two senior leaders of the ruling JMM-led alliance in Jharkhand and the opposition BJP, which is turning murkier by the day.

On August 16, the police presented the girl before the CWC, claiming she had been staying at the residence of a political adviser to a prominent BJP leader for “unusually long time” despite she not being a family member. An FIR was separately filed by the police against the advisor following a complaint by his 20-year-old domestic help.

In its August 19 notice, signed by Deputy Director R K Dubey, the ST panel said that following the complaint by the father, “the Commission has decided to investigate/inquire into the matter…. You are hereby requested to submit the facts and information on the action taken on the allegations/matters to the undersigned within 5 days of the receipt of the letter….”

“In case the Commission does not receive reply from you [DGP, SSP], the Commission may exercise the power of civil court… and issue summons for the appearance in person or by a representative before the Commission,” the notice said.

When contacted, ST Commission Chairperson Harsh Chouhan told The Indian Express, “We received a complaint from the father of the 15-year-old in which he alleged that his daughter was taken by the police without any reason and presented before the CWC and had been kept at a Home.”

“Then we deliberated on whether the complaint is a matter of investigation by the Commission. Our team spoke to the father and other family members, including relatives, and we came to a conclusion that it needs investigation by the ST Commission. Hence, we issued a notice to the police for a response.”

In his complaint, the girl’s father claimed that he along with his daughter had been staying at their house in their village for the past six months since the lockdown. On August 15 night, the police reached their place, he said.

“All of a sudden, without any notice, the police came to my residence and took my daughter and me away… we were kept at a [police station] till 3 am without eating anything and it was a painful experience… My daughter was taken to a Home and we were taken to a police station and made to sign on a blank piece of paper stating that we all reached home safely,” the father said in his complaint.

His daughter, the father claimed, was shifted from one Home to another and was not handed over to him, which was mental harassment and human rights violation. “The police have still not told us why my daughter has been kept in the Home… We want an inquiry into the police’ action,” he said.

The CWC had also recorded a statement by the girl on August 16. But there were differences within the CWC, with a member lodging a complaint with the SSP and the Chief Minister against the chairperson on August 19. She claimed she was pressured by the chairperson to let go of the girl without going through the “due process”.

The CWC chairperson and the member were suspended by the government on August 18. While sources confirmed the suspension, Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Chhavi Ranjan and the Women and Child Development Department Principal Secretary Avinash Kumar did not comment on the reason. The Women and Child Development Department is the nodal body for the CWC.

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