Bihar begins probe into Nepali girl’s sexual exploitation

BIRGUNJ, Sept 2: An Indian team formed to investigate the sexual exploitation of a Nepali girl by Indian security personnel started on Saturday with the recording of statements from individuals concerned, including the victim herself.

The two-member Bihar state-level probe team, which includes Shova Prakash Kushwaha and Lalita Singh of the Child Protection Commission of Bihar, recorded the statements of over half a dozen Indian officials along with the victim, at the boarder check point in no-man´s land between Nepal and India.

The team took statements from Indian consul general in Birgunj Ashutosh Agrawal, senior Bihar Police officer Jitendra Panday and Sub-divisional Officer of Raxaul section Jitendra Shah. The team also recorded a statement from main accused Suman Paswan.

A social organization rescued Sarita Sah Thakuri, 17, of Dang from Raxaul on April 26 while traffickers were taking her to Delhi under the lure of a job in Kuwait. Thakuri was sent to the Raxaul-based Dalit Women´s Welfare Organization (Dalit Mahila Jana Kalyan Sanstha) run by Suman Paswan.

Thakuri, who was subsequently rescued from Raxaul by Maiti Nepal on August 23, charged Paswan with helping security personnel of the Central Railway Police sexually exploit her during her three month stay at his organization, which turned out to be not registered in India.

After Indian media broke news that a Nepali girl was being forced into marriage, Bihar Police had intercepted under the direction of Nisha Jha, chairman of the Child Welfare Committee in Eastern Champaran District, and Thakuri was rescued.

Thakuri is sheltering at Maiti Nepal in Birganj. Bihar Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) in the case.

“Initial investigations have shown that the incident had indeed taken place as described by the victim. We have taken the case in a very serious light, and those guilty will be duly punished,” said probe team member Kushwaha, adding that the commission would take a decision regarding the case by next week.

Thakuri´s traffickers–Prakash Chaudhari and Jiwan Sapang of Dang– are in judicial custody at Betiya Jail, facing charges as per the Indian law against trafficking.RITESH TRIPATHI,republica

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