Days after three girls from Jharkhand were found in Haryana’s Ambala, and were reunited with their families in Ranchi district, the Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) has pointed out that the manner in which the case was handled by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Ambala and Ranchi Police is “in the ambit of suspicion”.
Arti Kujur, chairperson of the child rights panel, has sought a detailed report from the Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) within seven days.
Mohit Agarwal, member of CWC, Ambala, denied that there was anything untoward in their handling of the case.
Two of the three girls were found by Government Railway Police (GRP) from Ambala Cantonment Railway station on February 6 and were taken to CWC, Ambala. The third, younger girl was with the alleged trafficker, who returned with her to Ranchi earlier this week and handed her over to her family, arousing suspicion, according to the SCPCR chief. All girls are from Tupudana, on the outskirts of Ranchi; the suspected trafficker, Bhauva, is from Chand village, about 5 or 6 km away.
On Wednesday, Ranchi SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi said, “We have got the letter from SCPCR. We have marked an inquiry and will submit the report accordingly.” He added that nodal officer in such cases is a DSP-level officer.
In an official statement issued on Tuesday, Kujur said that she took cognizance of the matter on Monday and met the family and the three girls.
“The girls and family members told us that all three were taken (to Haryana) by Bhauva. Two of them ran away (from where they were employed) following constant harassment. Another girl, aged 10, was living with the suspected trafficker in Chandigarh. When the matter came to limelight, Bhauva returned the third girl to her family (in Ranchi),” SCPCR has stated in a statement.
“One of the girls was trafficked for the second time. In this matter, the handling of the case by CWC (Ambala), Panchkula Bal Bhavan, and Ranchi Police is within the ambit of suspicion. SSP (Ranchi) has been asked to submit a detailed report within seven days and also ensure that the three girls are produced before the CWC at the earliest,” the statement said.
Kujur told The Indian Express: “Whenever a minor girl is rescued, there is a set procedure. They have to be produced at the CWC before a decision is taken…There is a procedure of inspection for family background. That procedure has not been completed, yet the authorities (in Haryana) released the girls to their family.”
“What is more alarming is that the alleged trafficker himself produced the third girl.”
“They said they wanted to take a train back to Ranchi but lost their way (and ended at Ambala station). The girls are likely to be formally produced before CWC on Thursday…to record their formal statements,” Kujur said.
Rishi Kant, from the Delhi-based NGO Shakti Vahini, who has come to Ranchi for a background check of the family, said, “As far as the Ambala CWC is concerned, they have made a serious lapse of procedure. A family background inspection is necessary for various reasons…. But the girls were handed over to the family, with the trafficker in tow. This is gross violation of procedures.”