Flesh trade in Shivdaspur, Varanasi
UP PUCL Report
A Fact Finding Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of National Vice-President of PUCL with regard to the incident dated 25.10.05 and subsequent there to in Shivdaspur Red Light Area, Varanasi. With the consent of Chairman, the following members were nominated to the Committee of Inquiry:
Members of inquiry committee:
1. Gurinder Singh, (Advocate), State Vice-President, PUCL, U.P and Vice-Chairman, Fact Finding Committee.
2. Tanvir Ahmed Siddiquie, (Advocate), Joint Secretary, PUCL, U.P.
3. Ms. Shruti Raghuvanshi Member, PUCL
4. Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi Member, PUCL
[Evidence of witnesses and officers has been edited minimally to maintain authenticity – Chief Editor.]
Details of incident in brief:
Red Light Area Shivdas Puri, Police Station Madhuvadeeh, Varanasi has been known and is popular as red light area, where the women and girls are pushed in the like flesh trade. Not only girls but minor boys have also been abducted and brought here from different parts of the country and their sale-purchase (trading) business is also flourishing, this area has been developed by agents, brokers, middlemen, traffickers, as a big market of human trafficking and flesh trade right under the nose of police and administration. Some social organizations (NGOs) have also been fighting for the cause of reformation of life, education and right of these unfortunate women and their children but in spite of all this, the flesh trade of women and trading and trafficking of children and girls have been going on freely in this area.
On this or that pretext, the administration either turns a blind eye to this situation or different elements of its machinery are directly or indirectly involved in this system thereby encouraging such anti-social activities for the sake of profit. Some days back students of Law Faculty got information through a letter from a rickshaw puller that one girl after having abducted from West Bengal has been brought to red light area of Varanasi to put her in flesh trade. The students also got this information that in the meantime many more minor girls have also been brought for this trade. On the said information, the students contacted Prof. Mahender Pratap Singh, Former Head/Dean of Law Faculty, who advised them to take appropriate action and meet Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia a Social Organization, working for the human rights and social upliftment of sex workers in this area. The delegation of students met Shri Ajit Singh. On 25.10.05 he submitted a letter to Senior Superintendent of Police requesting him to get the said minor girls freed.
However, as a result of police not reaching the spot for a long time and owners of Kotha and middlemen who came to know about the possible action of the police started shifting minor girls to some other place, however, despite much resistance of middlemen and kotha owners, 31 women out of which 19 were minor girls were freed from the houses identified by workers and students under the leadership of President of Gudia. Police reached very late during this action and girls and women got freed were sent by workers of Gudia and students to Maduvadeeh Police Station under police protection and report of this incident was got registered by Gudia in police station under Section 456 I.P.C. against Rehmat, Smt. Tulsi, Laloo and Smt. Afazal. After this incident, police filed total eight cases against Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia under section 374 G/05 U/S 392/376 IPC, Case Crime No.274 F/05 U/S 392/354/342/427 IPC, Case Crime No.274 C/05 U/S 382 IPC, Case Crime No.274 D/05 U/S 382/376 IPC, Case Crime No.274 E/05 U/S 382 IPC and Case Crime No.274 F/05 U/S 382/511/506 IPC, Case Crime No.274 G/05 U/S 382/427 IPC, Case Crime No.274 H/05 U/S 492/323/342/506 IPC.
Many questions have cropped up on this issue. It was incomprehensible that police should file cases against someone who freed minor girls from being pushed into a crime. Realizing the gravity of the same, PUCL formed 4 members Fact Finding Team comprising of its senior office bearers.
Action Taken by Fact Finding Team:
The fact-finding proceedings commenced on 27.10.05.
Following issues were for consideration before the Fact Finding Committee.
- Under what circumstances, and why and how the said girls (Minor and Major) were brought and kept in red light area?
- The grounds, justification and legal position of the action taken by Gudia and students.
- Trafficking (smuggling) of minor and major girls and flesh trade and efforts/steps being taken by the administration for eradication of this evil and for welfare of women affected by that.
- Incidents of 25.10.05 and subsequent thereto and role of police administration.
In order to have discussion of the aforesaid points, the fact finding team met and talked to people of different groups and persons concerned with the incident, affected girls and various officers of police and administration and recorded their statements.
Ajit Singh, (27.10.2005):
Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia told the Fact Finding Committee that for the past few months, from his own sources, he had been getting this information that minor girls are kept as bonded in some houses in Red Light Area of Shivdaspur and were also being sent outside from there. On 25.10.05 again he got confirmed information that 10 to15 minor girls were brought and sold out in Shivdaspur and at present, they had been kept by force in some houses. In this connection, he gave complete details of information to Senior Superintendent of Police, Varanasi over telephone on 25.10.05 itself at about 2.05 p.m. (Mobile No.9415902211).
He also faxed to Distt. Magistrate, Varanasi and National Human Rights Commission. On invitation by Senior Superintendent of Police, he reached his residence to meet him but that time he had gone for lunch. He kept on waiting for Senior Superintendent of Police till 3.45 p.m. and in the meanwhile he also had talks with him over intercom. Seeing the matter being delayed, he also talked to National Human Rights Commission over telephone and faxed at the number provided again (Fax No. 011-23384012). At 3.45 p.m. He after leaving his colleague Shiva at his residential office left from there. At about 4.05 p.m. Senior Superintendent of Police, Varanasi issued written order for immediate action as may be required to Cantt. C.O. along with his letter. He said to Shiva that he should straightway reach red light area, C.O., Cantt. would reach there. At 4.50 p.m. Shiva again talked to Senior Superintendent of Police.
They waited in Shivdaspur red light area till 5.00 p.m. but no police man reached there. In the meantime, they saw that middlemen and brothel owner were shifting minor girls, perhaps they got the information from police, as is the practice in such cases. Immediately they with the help of social workers of Gudia started pulling out/removing minor girls from the houses. The middlemen and brothel owners there opposed them. They were armed with iron rods and dandas. There were about 125 boys and social workers with them. SHO of Maduadeeh reached the place of occurrence at about 5.30 p.m. and after some time, CO, Cantt. arrived. When police arrived, the girls were being rescued from houses. Seeing the police, the resistance of middlemen got strong. The middlemen during scuffle broke down his video camera. During this, the middlemen succeeded in taking away about 10 girls.
Even on reaching there, police remained inactive and in fact police wanted to get the girls released from their possession, they had also to face the opposition of police whereupon he climbed to the roof of Balbari Centre and threatened to jump from there.
They had to remove girls from campus and put them in a room of center to save and protect them from police and middlemen.
After that, at around 7.00 p.m. the boys forming the human chain facilitated the girls to board the bus and safely took them to the police station. In the meanwhile Anant Dev, SP, City came to the police station and reprimanded us saying who would be responsible if some one had got hurt. At about 9.30 p.m. FIR was registered at Maduadeeh police station. They got the report registered against four persons namely Mohd. Rehmat, Smt Afzal, Laloo and Smt Tulsi from whose houses 31 girls were recovered.
In the meantime, RAF and PAC also arrived. When he was getting the FIR registered, during that period, police was trying to disperse the social workers and students who were present outside the police station in which police also tried to use force. However, the social workers said that they would not leave the place till the FIR is registered. He showed the FIR copy to boys and at about 11.00 p.m. they all left for their homes after leaving the girls under the protection and security of police in Maduadeeh Police Station.
At 12.30 a.m. night they came to know over telephone from their sources that police and middlemen had gone rampaging at Maduadeeh. In the meanwhile it was also known that S.S.P. at 1.20 a.m. night showed the media the signs of rampage/riot in Shivdaspur. What happened in Shivdaspur from 11.00 p.m. to 1.30 a.m. night is doubtful. Eight cases were made out against him. It was known to him through media by the next afternoon. police later arrested those named in the FIR. The FIRs were registered at the behest of middlemen. The students had not indulged in any rioting. They had acted peacefully.
His (President of Gudia) version – How it all happened:
In his words: A student of Social Science, B.H.U. got a letter of a girl from a rickshaw puller some days ago and that letter was written in Banga. He informed about this to students of Law Faculty. From that rickshaw puller, it was known that that letter has been given to him by a minor girl of Shivdaspur. Those boys met Prof. M.P. Singh along with that letter and those boys talked to Professor Saheb for release of this girl whereupon Prof. M.P. Singh sent those students to me telling them that I am working in this area. After that these boys came to me. I sought time from them to find out about this girl. In the meantime, two meetings were also held with the students in which issue of taking help from police and all possible aspects were discussed. During the time of tracing out this girl, on 25.10.05 at 11.00 a.m. we got confirmed information that group of about 10-15 girls have been brought in the area recently. At 11.00 a.m., we contacted students and other social workers of Gudia.
Prof. M.P. Singh, B.H.U., (31.10.2005) – What happened on 25.10.05 and how:
20th November is Practical Project Work day in our semester course.
The purpose of this project was to find out and know as to how the law works at the ground level and how the agencies responsible to implement the law work. Prof. D.P. Verma was in charge of the project. Its subject was Sex Workers and Human Rights. Students went there. Police takes money regularly. This is a fact as told by the girls who are in the trade. Girls trafficking takes place at large scale, minor girls are also involved. In the meantime, the letter of a girl written in Bengali was received from rickshaw puller in which she expressed her desire to return to her home. Student of Social Science brought that letter to the students of Law. Boys came to me and told all these things.
Ajit came with his wife on 23rd October at 10 p.m. He said that he had talked to Sikera and he is progressive and would help me. It was 3.00 p.m. On 25.10.05 at around 2.00 p.m. Ajit went to the S.S.P. That time he could not meet S.S.P. as he had gone for lunch. At 5.00 p.m. Ajit got the information on phone that police was not playing an effective role. I myself talked to Navneet Sikera at 5.00 p.m. and talks were somewhat at high pitch. Common citizen has right under Section 81, 97, 100 I.P.C. we can break the small/petty law to avoid any grave offence under the Right of Defence. After this discussion at 5.00 p.m. when boys were dejected that the police would not help, it is a civil society and being member of it, our students stopped occurrence of a serious crime. They got the law implemented for the needy group of society. This problem took the shape of highly violative immoral trade. After leaving the girls in police station, and registration of FIR, boys returned by 10 p.m. Boys on return informed that RAF and PAC had reached there and they wanted to turn this incident like into a skirmish/riot. I am not an eye witness. Main role is not mine or Ajit is, but is of students only. 500 students had not gone to help Ajit. They sought the help from Ajit in getting those minor girls freed. Law Faculty is one of the ten top colleges in India. My students are fully disciplined. Being a guardian and teacher, it is my duty to take care of their safety.
The role of Women Commission has been very bad in this incident. It has become an official agency, acts on behalf of ruling party. State has failed in our country or heading for failure, because it was the duty of the State to protect and ensure safety of the people. Police is a State Agency. It was its duty to act of its own under Section 161, 150 Cr.P.C. If the police did not get information from its own sources about presence of minor girls in Shivdaspur, then it is their fault. The police acted as patronage of middlemen and traffickers continuously for two days. The students have set an example. They should have been encouraged and felicitated and the administration is making the background to harass them.
Students of law and social science faculty of Kashi Hindu University, (30.10.2005):
In the first and second weeks of October, we seven students toured the red light area of Shivdaspur in which we being the students of final year of L.L.B. were required to study the human rights of women indulging in flesh trade. We were required to present this 20th November Project in a seminar. We also had an authority letter for all the concerned departments. On visiting Shivdaspur no women could dare to talk to us being afraid of middlemen. Being frustrated, we met SHO at the police post present there and they also said that one person is Rehmat Chaudhary and only on getting permission from him, they (women) would open their mouth. We took constable Nand Lal with us and only then people came forward to talk to us. There this flesh trade was being carried on as a family business. Even after getting permission, girls were afraid of talking freely. We visited that place many times. The elderly women used to misbehave a lot and used to become abusive with us. We also visited the house of Rehmat. During that time we noticed that most of the girls there are from Bengal and Nepal. We were finding ourselves helpless on seeing their condition. In the meanwhile on 16th or 17th October, one rickshaw puller got the address of a girl written in Bengali language which was of Kakinaal, Siyaldeh Railway Colony. In that, she had written "Bawa Bari Jabo" in Bengali.
We had identified that girl on visiting the place and decided to get her freed from there. During project, we came in contact with Ajit Singh. He had letters given earlier to D.M. and S.S.P. in which he provided information of sale-purchase of girls. He revealed how on leaking the information to the police, girls are shifted to other place. Each and every girl knows and recognizes each and every constable and on seeing them, they hide themselves inside. We decided to talk to administration, Shri Sikera did not listen to us. Had talks with Ajit Ji. We stayed for the whole day to wait for the arrival of Rolli Singh so that after getting the girls freed, they would hand over to C.W.C. We wanted protection even for ourselves from Police Administration because we were unarmed. All the students were emotionally involved. Sentiments of all the students were attached to this incident. How could we misbehave with them? For us, they are our missing, lost sisters. Police summoned RAF and PAC against us. When our getting the girls freed from there, we could have been attacked but police made no effort to extend any cooperation, provide any security for us. Only after reaching the police station, the police and administration sprung into action. We do not know as to why police want to implicate us in this entire case. We have not done anything wrong.
Residents of Shivdaspur Mandi – Prem Kumar alias Pappu, Pradhan of Village Shivdaspur, (28.10.05)
I came at about 4.30 p.m. on 20.10.05. There were about 250-300 students at that time. By that time, they had rescued the girls and had taken girls in the school. There were about 4-5 police personnel. Counting was taking place at a distance of 1 km. where SO was present. All media people were present. Girls were forcibly dragged holding by hair and neck and brought in the crowd. All got frightened seeing the crowd. Crowd dispersed by 10 and 11 p.m. at night. In fact that people of villages had been demanding for the last two three yeas that these all the girls should be rescued from there. Surya Kumar Shukla stopped their eviction for 60 days and meanwhile Ajit also came and said that they would be removed/rescued only after their rehabilitation is ensured. At that time their number was about 100. Ajit used to visit the place daily in the last three years. Number of girls has also increased within two years.
There were 250 girls as on 25.10.05. Most of these girls are from outside and middlemen are also there. There was no one to listen to them. Every month, about 8-10 girls were brought. Ajit knows about this. R.K. Singh sent back two girls to their homes one month back incurring expenses from his own pocket. We have knowledge of arrival of the police. Rioting/looting has though taken place though students might not be involved in this and someone might have sneaked into this. Students cannot do this. I am satisfied that whatever students have done is absolutely correct. However, those who had taken the girls, they should have taken them in a planned manner. All are guilty here. Women have no role in it, brothel owners should be punished. Rehmat Khan is the powerful brothel owner. Prior to this, 6-8 girls were tracked out by Brij Bhushan Sharma at the place of Rehmat Khan and Gangster Act was imposed on Rehmat Khan and now it is the question of enforcing it. Rehmat Khan can never be arrested. Sanjay Diwan is one of the police personnel who provides each and every information about police station to Rehmat Khan. Had any action taken at the time when one or two girls used to be brought here about two years ago, perhaps this situation would not have arisen.
None of the middlemen is a local resident. Rehmat Khan is from Kanpur, most of the middlemen here are from Bengal and Kanpur. It is necessary to book the middlemen under the provisions of Law to stop their operation.
I have been functioning as a Pradhan for the last two years after getting elected. The girls are who are brought here are rudely treated by the middlemen. Whenever blame comes on police, police bent its anger on poor public. Allegation of rape and molesting are false - this cannot be true.
Anand, Gram Pradhan of Maduadeeh, (28.10.05):
Today at night police will again conduct raid at 2 a.m. such rumour is going on. It seems the entire village would be ruined. Role of the police is completely wrong. Anything which had taken place on 25th October should have been done under the law and not by indulging in rioting/rampage and threatening. When police has not stopped till date, then why it is stopping now that I am unable to understand.
Administration and Police Administration – Distt. Magistrate Shri Nitin Gokaran, (30.10.2005)
I have only that much information which has been received from media and police. I was not contacted on 25th October by any organisation or police. I have neither received any phone call nor any fax. In this context, I have set up a magisterial inquiry headed by A.C.J.M.-2 Nagender. I will be able to comment only after receiving report of magisterial inquiry. Civil Society should be vigil. Civil Society work only through NGO. Those working for different classes of society seek help from NGO. Students are source of energy and Civil Society works like that. It is my opinion that before going to such places, police should have been taken along. It was good that no violent resistance took place there. We should not indulge in leveling allegations and cross allegations. The economy is the main cause of this problem. As such, we seek help from all of you for the rehabilitation process. Identifying rackets is different work and rehabilitation of girls and women is different thing for which some training-counseling etc. should be arranged. I have talked to some respectable peoples of the town.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Varanasi – Shri Navneet Sikera, (31.01.05) at 12.30 hrs:
We all are very happy with this initiative and want that whosoever is a social organization should come forward and see this whole incident independently and give its opinion. I want to tell you everything related to this whole incident, but let me first tell you that I came to Varanasi just a month ago and I never wanted to come but I have been sent here only to control mafias and I want that you people should come forward and give your suggestions on such types of issues. In context of this case, I would like to tell you that on 25.10.05 at about 2.15 p.m. I received a phone call from Ajit Singh, on phone Ajit Singh asked me for a meeting, whereupon I asked him as to on which subject he wants to talk to, because I wanted to tell him that if someone has a land case that case has been going on for the last four years and would go on for further four years. I cannot give my time for such things leaving aside my entire work, therefore, it is necessary for me to know as to on what subject meeting is being sought so that I may give time in view of gravity of the subject.
Thereupon, Ajit Singh said that some minor girls are being kept hostage and raped and these girls are to be got freed immediately. When I heard this from him, I asked him to come immediately and started waiting up to 3'O Clock. Pawan Singh, reporter of Hindustan Press was also witness to this fact. Finally I got up and went to my residence for lunch. As I was having my lunch, my staff informed me that Ajit Ji has come whereupon I asked him to wait for two minutes, after competing the meal I went outside and met him. He gave me a letter and I immediately marked it and asked him to meet the C.O., Cantt. Thereafter, I started going out in my vehicle but seeing the gravity of the situation, I immediately talked to C.O., Cantt. on my mobile, who told me that at present he is on counting duty in Maduadeeh area itself and as I had covered a long distance, I got the vehicle stopped because I had seen Ajit starting motor cycle and coming towards us and as soon as he came near, I told him to go to Maduadeeh because C.O., Cantt is at present available at Maduadeeh and is waiting for him but Ajit did not reach there and I must tell you that whenever such a raid is conducted, force from Women Police Station, women constable and one Gazetted Officer and two respectable persons are always required. It may not be possible to get respectable persons that at 2.00 a.m. but still we make all the efforts, the number of lady constables in the city is also insufficient, and then are scattered among different police stations in the city. Tell me practically as to how much time it would take to collect lady constables of the entire city to conduct raid at such a large scale?
At least four to five hours, raid was conducted between 4.45 to 5.15 and this raid was conducted by the boys under the leadership of Ajit Singh. I cannot say if any one amongst you is Ajit as I can not recognize Ajit, and I tell you that people did not wait for the arrival of the police and also they did not go to meet C.O., Cantt. whereas he kept on waiting for them. Boys with whom Ajit conducted raid were not the students of BHU because BHU is a reputed university and I would also say that I have not given any such statement that I have registered any FIR against the students of BHU or any action that has been taken against them. I do not know whether they were the students of BHU or street roamers. Police reached there only on rioting and rampage and I got information from public on phone at 6.00 p.m. that such incident is taking place there and boys have rescued girls and have confined/kept them and are indulging in rioting and rampage there. Around 300-400 or even 100 students of BHU were present there. From where Ajit Singh have brought so many students? Why such a large number of students were present there? Students of BHU in such large number cannot be easily lured and fooled to bring there. For this, some pre-planning was done and if this was preplanned then what was the need to complete the formality of giving information to him? or to cheat me and if you see the footages appearing live on Sahara News Channel, you would find that how the girls were protesting and these footages were seen by the whole India.
These girls were rescued and confined in the office of Gudia organisation and by that time one SI and three-four constables already reached there but they were maintaining only law and order in view of presence of 300-400 boys and then bus was brought there, probably boys might have come in that bus. Then bus came and girls were so much frightened that they all ran and boarded the bus thinking that police vehicle has come and they all took those girls and reached Maduadeeh Police Station.
Then Ajit Singh got the FIR registered later on. Subsequently girls who had been got freed got the FIR registered against Ajit and many more people came to lodge FIR against Ajit but police turned them away.
I visited police station close to the place of occurrence at about 12.30 a.m. at night and heard the persons present there. One old aged man was the Head there and I also heard him and thought that I will go and see the place from where these girls have been rescued. Before visiting the place of occurrence, I called media at about 1.30 a.m. whereupon media people said that the City Edition is being printed and now they would not be able to gather news. Thereupon, I requested them that you must come, it is not necessary that news is reported. However, it is necessary for you to come and be present there because I am also going there. What the BHU students have done was exactly same as an elephant walks, his child while moving goes on damaging and ruining surrounding. I have my own student experience and I am well aware of the students psychology and this issue of minor girls is a serious one such that it catches everybody’s attention and when BHU students went there, Ajit Singh gave wrong information to them and used them for his own benefit because Ajit Singh has been working in that area for the last 7-8 years and knew that place very well.
However, my question is that Ajit Singh has not given any such information to the police 3 months ago or even prior to that. If new girls are brought here and he had information about it, then why this was not told to police by him? As far as police’s ignorance about these red light areas are concerned then let me tell you that red light areas like Sonagachi of Calcutta or Novasta of Kanpur, everybody knows about such red light areas. It is a social evil. But, our issue is about minor girls and their rehabilitation and your assistance and suggestions.
I want to tell you that police had imposed Gangster Act against Rehmat on 21st October 2005, who is a wanted criminal of the Red Light area of Shivdaspur and I can firmly say that of there had been police with Ajit Singh, perhaps situation would have been different today.
T.N. Tripathi, C.O., Bhelupur, (2.11.05):
At the time of incident, I was on election duty in Baragaon. At 7.30 p.m. I overheard the SHO and came to know that Ajit Singh of Gudia organisation with students of BHU had taken action himself. Ajit Singh submitted an application to SSP in which he provided information that many girls had been kept hostage there and they wanted to raid that place. SSP invited and welcomed him. He put down instructions on the application of Ajit itself for CO, Cantt. for taking immediate action and asked Ajit to go and meet C.O., Cantt but Ajit did not go to meet C.O., Cantt. He had arranged his own force separately. He took law in his own hands. Sufferers would tell better as to what had been done there by those boys. Those sufferers have lodged 7 cases against Ajit Singh. Have done both good and bad. I am the IO in this case. Medical examination of 31 girls was conducted and among them 12 were minors and 19 were major. 12 have been arrested and sent to jail and minors were kept in Women Observation Home.
Next day we also planned and conducted a raid and 17 people were arrested because they were carrying flesh trade through girls and among these 17 people, 12 were women and 5 were men. Information received that they operated from the outskirts of Shivdaspur also and Tara Bai is accused and she would be taken on remand after the court required. 11 women were arrested subsequently which included both types of persons, those who were involved in this trade and those who were forcing the girls into flesh trade.
In past also, raids were conducted by the police in which once 4 minor girls were got freed and by targeting only one woman, she was got freed. Ashiq was arrested in the second raid and has been taken on remand. His wife Rubi has also been arrested. This is the family business of these people.
Gangster act has been imposed on Rehmat 15 days ago and he is a wanted criminal. I had to make efforts for this for 2½ months as no one was ready and willing to complaint and file case against him. Afzal, wife of Rehmat is still absconding.
We conduct raids at night. The purpose of this is that we know there must be a criminal inside if in front of a house a car or a bike is parked. I have no information whether local police station recover money regularly from there. A high level officer does not get involved in this, though a constable might be involved. Hence, four persons were suspended. Ajit Singh has never lodged any complaint earlier, it is my personal experience. He had lots of monthly. That is the reason Dharna is arranged daily in his support. His workers visit each and every brothel to collect money, you can find out this to those who were indulging in this trade. We were shocked, perturbed and pained to see those minor girls.
At present, pickets have been placed at both the entry points of Shivdaspur and one register is placed there in which new visitors are supposed to record their names and addresses. Let us see how long this system works because this arrangement was started earlier by our Police Officer Surya Kurnar Shukla and at that time this Ajit had been carrying out movement against him.
Rehmat Khan supplies beautiful girls to highly placed persons and in the hotels. He sells ordinary girls in Shivdaspur. All the girls are brought at the premises of Rehmat and from there he sells them to the other middlemen. He has access to higher ups, hence he has no fear from police. He comes to the Mandi once in two three days only. His business is extended to far flung areas such as Bareilley, Muzaffarpur, Kanpur, Delhi, Bihar, Bengal, and Nepal. It is good to free the girls but students should have taken action in this regard. Ajit’s intention as well as method both were wrong.
Santosh Singh, C.O., Cantt., (31.10.05):
On 25.10.05 at around 4.30 p.m. S.S.P. called up and informed that some persons have come and told him that some girls from Bengal have been kept hostage in Shivdaspur and these girls are to be freed. You accompany them. I was on election duty at Krishan Mohini School, Maduadeeh. No one came to me with the letter. I received a phone call from the police station at 5.15 p.m. that around 200-250 boys were using force against the girls there and I took four constables and reached there and saw that girls had been kept confined in the office of Gudia and they were beating the door and shouting from inside. I said that girls would be taken to the police station only after arrival of women. Ajit Singh climbed on the roof and started shouting that he would jump from there, he was doing this to catch the attention of media persons. At about 6.00 p.m. boys took the girls in the bus to police station. After 9 p.m., FIR was registered. Some mishandling has taken place with the girls while being dragged out from more than one dozen houses. At that time, no police was present there. I do not think that boys have indulged in looting. Doors of 3-4 houses have been broken. When I reached there, I found that Gumti (kiosks) in which only women used to sell pan were demolished. Boys were from BHU and some were also from Vidhyapeeth.
The country has a system Students and the police operate according to the system. Whatever was the intention of the boys, the method was wrong. Red light areas exist in every city all over the world. The person (Ajit) who organized the operation, why he did not organize this earlier? When Surya Kumar Shukla was spearheading the movement, then why Ajit stopped that. In totality I think that it is a good beginning. Earlier there were 31 girls, I do not know how many are there now?
Shri Dadhi Ram Maurya, Supdt. of Jail, Chaukaghat, (4.11.05):
On visiting Chaukaghat Jail, Dadhia Ram Maurya, Supdt. of Jail, informed that 24 persons were kept imprisoned in Chaukaghat Jail which includes 4 girls below the age of 18 years. One girl was brought in the case of traveling without ticket and rest have been kept under IPT Act and their medical examination have not yet been conducted. He said that he cannot allow the members of the Fact Finding Team to meet women or middlemen because this case has gone to the court. Hence, you would be able to meet them only by getting permission from the Distt. Magistrate. It has been known from reliable sources that boys and minor girls, women have been kept together in protective house of Shivpur.
Dr. Rolli Singh, Chairman, Juvenile Welfare Board, (30.10.2005):
Through TV on 25.10.05, I came to know that raid has been conducted in Shivdaspur and children have been found there. I asked the members of CWC to visit that place. Members of Board said that the police personnel would themselves introduce children to me. I could not resist myself because children were my priority. I reached police station Madhuvadeeh at about 7.45 p.m. One elderly lady among the girl children met me who was not playing her role properly. I asked her to leave. City SP Ananat Dev also reached there. He said that they have been kept under PITA. He asked me to leave the place. I showed him my card, to which he said that he would contact me in case of need. However, I stayed there to watch the process of registration of FIR. The administration was tense. They had no knowledge of J.J. Act.
Next day in the morning after seeing my statement in media, the role of police changed. They (police) contacted me to record the statement of girls. Recording of statements of the girl started from 2:00 p.m. before that the process of conducting their medical examination had commenced. In the beginning, no police officer co-operated with me. Mr. Peshkar (Reader) who was appointed had refused to accompany me. Then on repeated insistence by GPO, some other person was sent. Statements of girls were recorded in my presence . However, today I am feeling that the statements may be treated only as the first information because at that time girls were under stress and tensed. After the recording of the statements, my first priority was for their stay/residence with legal binding. As it was a big case, hence in the absence of protection home, the issue of sending the girls to Child Home at Balia came up. However, it would have been difficult to meet them, rehabilitate them, counseling them after sending them there, hence after talking to D.M., they were kept in Protection Home, Shivpur. I immediately formed the Rehabilitation Committee with the help of CWC and one social worker and rescue officer, one advocate and one representative of child line were included in that committee. PITA Act was enforced on the major girls/women found on the first day. When police produced them before Remand Magistrate, he directed to free them.
Their statements under section 164 had been taken. They were produced again. I met those girls on Id and Diwali. 7-8 children have started talking to go to their homes and efforts were made with the help of child line to take them to the addresses given by them. D.M. was asked to send one Psychiatrist for them because girls are under stress and mental tension.
The Rehabilitation scheme is also being placed by us before the D.M.
Statements of Minor Girls/Victims Kept in Sanvasini Grih, Shivpur:
1. My name is Laxmi, name of my father is Bharat Bhai Thakur and name of my mother is Yamuna Ben Bharat Bhai Thakur. My house is near the Station, Kashi Nath Barf Wala Ka Ghar, Udhwara, Surat. My father drives a vehicle. We are four brothers and seven sisters. Brother runs junk dealing business.
One year ago, Munna Yadav residing behind Kathi Markandey Bawa brought me here after marrying me but in-laws did not keep me and refused to keep me in their house. Name of father of Munna is Hardwar. He took me to Bangalore. He and I had money with us. We stayed in a hotel and I having faith in him gave my entire money to him, then one month before he brought me to Shivdaspur and sold me here. I reside in the house of Jaya didi and Sunil. I do not like this work but this work has been got done by me forcibly and on refusal I receive beating. I have to entertain all the persons visiting in one day. I want to go to my house as soon as possible. I used to provide earning of minimum Rs. One thousand per day and sometimes two to three thousand per day.
2. My name is Sharoon Kathun, my father's name is Ansar Mulla and mother's name is Supia Bibi. My house is located at Nutan Chowk, Lakhi Chowk, Kantapur, Kharda Police Station Madrapur where we reside on rent.
I came here 8-9 months ago. I used to do household chores (cleaning utensils etc.) in many houses. Agent who brought me here in the name of arranging service for me is a residence of Santoshpur. I do not know his name. When I had quarrel led at home, I came with him to work as maid.
I live in the house of Rehmat and Afzal. Rehmat keeps the beautiful girls of his choice at his premises and sells others to other agents. I tried twice to run away from the premises of Rehmat but I was caught from the road and beaten up with rods. Afzal keeps hunter made of thick dish cable and she beats with that hunter. I have been forced for flesh trade. I used to get beating in case of earning less than Rs. One thousand in a day. One earning more money in a day gets appreciation and next day not earning more, one gets beating. They take entire money and even extra money given by customers. They beat us on spending something on us. I do not want to go back there. I want to go to my home.
3. My name is Tehseen, my father's name is Mehboob Ali. My residential address is Sehnaz Begum Ganj, Mamoo Khan Ka Hatta, near Moti Jheel, Kanpur. One lady/agent living near my house brought me in the name of visiting the house of her maternal uncle and after getting down at Station asked Auto driver to the place where prostitutes live (brothel). Whereupon I asked her as to where she was taking me, to which she told that her maternal uncle lived there. I got suspicious and I would have gone back from Station itself but she lured me. I have studied up to High School level. I came on the last Bakrid. I have three sisters and three brothers. I live in the house of Rehmat. Here I was being asked to start entertaining visitors (flesh trade) and on my refusal I used to get beatings. I do not act on my own desire in this work. On asking to allow me to back to home, owners say that we have spent Rs One lakh on you, have bought you for Rs sixty thousand and they have to pay Rs Forty thousand to police and you can go to your home after paying that amount.
4. My name is Reena alias Sushma. My father's name is Hamid and mother's name is Jeba Bai. I have step father. My house is in Piyali Chatui Para, Orissa. Boy named Vappi brought me here about 1½ years ago on the pretext of marriage and before that he kept me for 14 days in his maternal aunt's house (Mausi), her name was Deepa but name of that place was not told to me. They used to speak in Hindi and Bengali. I live in the house of Badal and Dashrath. Islam and Sunita are my employers. I use to receive beating in case of not earning money by offering myself for sex. My employer says that grab the money, wrist watch of visitors. They take away the entire earning. Employer says that she had to spent lakhs of rupees on me. On coming here they change names of all. They say that in case any one ask, do not tell your place of residence.
5. My name is Ratna Biswas and my mother's name is Gayatri. I have three brothers named Kanu Vishwas, Balai Bishwas, and Devasheesh Biswas. My residence is in Shivmorali Manyapota, Police Station Chakdra, Chadoira, Distt. Nadia. I have come here just 14-15 days ago on last Durga Puja. One lady named Jhooma Chakraborry residing in the house of my maternal uncle brought me in the name of arranging work for me in the house of her sister, Saraswati is my employer. Khokoon is her son, she has another son whose name I do not remember but Sapna Das is his wife and she beats me black and blue and asks me to do this work. She also takes away extra payment customers give me. I was arrested during police raid and that time my employer showed me as a married woman after applying Sindoor (vermilion) and Mangal Sutra. The entire family of employer live here and they all live on my income. They ask me to grab money, belongings of visitors.
6. My name is Archna, father's name is Jagdish and mother's name is Mukta Das. My house is in Daimond Sadur Hat, Calcutta.
I came here three months ago. Agent who was a lady brought me on the pretext of taking a round of the area. On asking to let me go to my home, I was forced to indulge in this work after giving me beating. I do not work of my own desire in this field. On asking for going home, owner says that you have been bought for Rs Sixty thousand and they have to pay Rs 40 thousand to police, you may go after paying that much money. On trying to go home, they chase and catch me and do not allow me to go anywhere.
7. My name is Rukhsana, my father's name is late Kalim and mother's name is Geeta. I am resident of Shivdaspur itself and do dancing, singing.
8. My name is Sulekha, father's name is Bhavishya Das and mother's name is Minka Das. My house is in Pratap Pur Mastya Station, Nadia. I came here two years ago. I was working as maid doing household chores. Here I do dancing, singing. The agent told me that he would arrange work for me in the Orchestra and after bringing me here, he sold me. I want to go to my house. Geeta is my employer who beats me and takes away money.
9. My name is Gudia (fictitious name). I cannot go back to the house of my parents. I have come here one year ago. I do dancing, singing, washing, cleaning work in the house of Rehmat. One boy brought me in the name of taking round of house of his aunt. I want to go to the house of my elder sister who resides in Gorakhpur in case she wants to keep me. Her house is in New Colony, Chilampur, Bagha Bawa Ka Sthan, near Arman Tailors and her name is Munni and she is doctor. We do not know what would happen? Where would we go from here?
10. My name is Khursheena, I have studied upto Third class. Jaidev is my husband, I do not know the names of my parents. My house was in Harihar Para, Barhampur, Bengal. Where I earlier used to live and do household chores, the owner of that place used to beat me. From there Jaidev and my mother-in-law Aazpan Begum brought me in Tanker then in bus and then in Train at this place. Father-in-law has died five years ago, I do not know his name. I have been in Varanasi for the last one year twenty days. 8 months have passed since my marriage with Jaidev and he drives tempo. My two storey house is in Shivdaspur. My husband's house is in Bengal. On 25th four persons forcibly picked me in which my clothes got torn. House of husband is behind the school. I do not know Ajit Sir, Gudia. I am pregnant with three months pregnancy. My husband earns and looks after me.
11. My name is Chameli. My father's name is Babloo Mandal and mother's name is Mehzan. I am not educated. My father runs tube well. My house is in Sahadia village, Police Station Dokul, Karimpur, Distt. Murshidabad. I want to go back home.
I had gone to Station to go to my house. One woman from Kishangarh Station brought me here on the pretext of service and sold me here. She left me after saying that she is bringing cold drink from the shop. They also force me to do this dirty work and beat me. I came here five months ago. Boys came and rescued and did a good work. They (boys) did not use any force on me. Send me to my home.
12. My name is Seema Mukherjee. Father's name is Sapan Mukherjee, my mother has died. I am the only daughter of my parents. My father is D.S.P. in police, I have studied upto VII class. The neighbour, whom we used to call Uncle, had dispute with my father over house and his name is Vimal Mukherjee and he made me unconscious by giving prasad and brought me here from Calcutta. I cannot recollect what happened on the way, first I was kept here at the premises of Bhatta. I was told to apply make up and stand outside. I refused for this whereupon I was beaten up mercilessly. Only one month has passed since coming to this place.
I use to start weeping off and on and every time they use to beat me. I have been living at the premises of Rehmat. When police came, Rehmat asked me to run out of house. From outside, I have talked to my father. Number of phone of my house is 223791. My father is posted in Lal Bazar and he has got the Government flat bearing No. 130 and name of building is Ashoka Building. My house is in Calcutta. My father would come one day with huge force and would take me from here. Now I would not live here. I was running away from my home when two days ago one person caught me at station and brought me here.
13. My name is Nasreen. I am Musalman. My house is in village Ulem Para, Sontejpur Station, Calcutta. My mother used to make ladies bag. I was going to get payment of that work when near the station one woman and one man said let us come, we would arrange the job of a maid. Told me that if I did not accompany them, they would hand me over to the police. Being afraid, I came with them. Here they force me to do this dirty work and on refusing to do, they beat and snatch away entire income. In case I keep anything with me to meet out my expenses, they beat me. Not many days have passed since the time I have come here, I have come here only one week ago. Raid conducted whereupon Afzal made me to run away from field side. Police arrested and brought me.
14. My name is Shabena (fictitious name), my father's name is Khokoon and mother's name is Sabera. Siraz, Sirazul, and Ezaz are my uncles. My address is Village Sangadanga, Police Station Aamdagga, Post Office Badansa, Distt. Howrah, Calcutta. I came to the house of my married sister in Shoshepur and was going alone from there when Raja caught me in the bus, Raja said come, I will marry you. Raja brought me to Shivdaspur. He sold me here to Tulsi. Tulsi pushed me into this trade. One year has passed since I have come here. 2-3 men used to come daily. The earning used to go to owner. I have a six months old son. I was not allowed to go out. On falling ill I wanted to take rest for two-three days but owner did not allow me to take rest. She forced me to entertain visitors just after two days of my delivery. I want my son and want to go to my parents.
Residents of Shivdaspur Mandi, (28.10.05):
1. Sanjay - I am with Sir Ji. Sir Ji has done a very good job. Those who were guilty got punished. Sir Ji also used to say that do not indulge in wrong things but when mafia like Rehmat continued doing wrong thing, Sir Ji taught him a lesson. He often used to threaten to get us arrested by the police. Sir Ji rescued and brought only minor girls. Sir Ji has done a commendable job. I am with Sir Ji.
2. Rajender - on 25th in the early morning, people came and demolished my Pan Gumti (kiosks). They took away my five daughters named Purnima, Roshni, Puja, Sabra. Ajit Singh has not got any looting, or rioting done. I myself have been supporting Ajit Singh. Boys rescued us and nothing wrong was done by them.
3. Kamla - Sir Ji is very good person. Sir Ji has never done any wrong deed. What he has done was certain to take place. Sir Ji used to explain to everyone. Sir Ji even got that work closed for a long time but it was Rehmat who got that wrong work done forcibly from all extending threat of police. Sir Ji rescued minor girls and it was very good job. I am very happy.
4. Jumrati - I have cycle repair shop. Today police took away my three niece. Their names are Salma, Saheena, Chandni. They used to study in the school being run by Gudia. Their father Haplz Barsati is a tailor. Do not know where police has taken them. I asked them not to do this whereupon they said that they would get me booked for the offence of trafficking.
5. Sharif Ahmed - I have cloth shop on New Sarak. I have a house in the village. Even on giving introduction, policemen today took away daughters-in-law. Police has not done anything till date. If police is really interested, it can arrest anyone but police does not take any action.
6. Farida - Ajit Sir Ji always used to explain everyone that one should not keep minor girls but Rehmat forced all of them to do this work. When they refused to follow, Sir Ji rescued only minor girls. Then some goonda elements came from outside late night and police was also with them and SI was also present and they all indulged in rampage and it was not done by Sir Ji or the boys. We all are with Sir Ji.
7. Begul w/o Azad. Police arrested my mother-in-law Kalawati Devi. My sister Neetu aged 22 years has also been taken away. My husband Azad drives auto. Brothers-in-law Sehzad and Akram run tea shop and they have also been arrested.
8. Meenu - Sirji always said that involving minor girls is very bad but people did not listen to him whereupon Sir Ji rescued all the minor girls and handed over to the custody of police. Sir Ji has done very good work, Rehmat's courage knew no bounds. He used to threaten to get all of us arrested by police. Sir JI has not done any rampage/damage. Sir Ji always helped us in the house of need and we all are with Sir Ji.
9. Shiv Kumari - I live on rent in the house of Gulab Ustad. Police has arrested my two sisters Barkha and my mother Neelam. I have two small children, hence I have been spared.
10. P.L. Yadav, Subhash Chander Yadav, Shiv Ganesh Singh all are constables. Krishan Kant Tiwari is Home Guard and we all have duty turn by turn. We have been deputed on duty to check entry of outsiders on this road. We are from Manduadeeh Police Station. We were not here on 25.10.05.
11. Maheshwari Devi - Name of my husband is late Om Prakash. I have been living here for the last 40-45 years. I have five children, one son, daughter-in-law, four daughters out of which two have been married and have their own families. The third daughter has no child. Two married daughters live in Bombay and one is in Kanpur. All the three daughters were invited on the occasion of festival. One married daughter Babli has some chest problem and her operation is to take place after Diwali. One son runs a PCO. We both mother and daughter were cooking a meal, when Ladies Police and Police forcibly took away my daughters. Ajit used to teach children and till date never talked of payment from us.
12. Qayyum - Ajit Sir cannot do this. I have Pan-Tea shop. I know Ajit since the time he started his work, i.e., for the last ten years. It is difficult to be a great man like Ajit Sir Ji.
13. Shaukat Ali - My mother and sisters had been forcibly taken away. Name of mother is Khalikoon Nisha and sister's name is Salma Bano and Saina Bano. Children are taught in the organization of Ajit. I was on duty. My brother came and informed that the police had arrested mother and sister.
14. Nirmla - My sister aged 40-45 years was forcibly taken away by police. My sister is an elderly lady having grand sons-daughters. Name of her son is Azad and Neetu is her daughter-in-law. Neetu has two children. My sister is a heart patient, and this could pose a risk of heart failure. They were also misbehaving with the daughter-in-law, I pleaded to get her freed from them. They were dragging Kalawati while beating her. They were beating and pulling her hair. Police were beating all men and women.
15. Kanta Devi W/o Teja Singh - I am the resident of this place. Nutan is a married girl. Many years have passed since her marriage. She has no child and she was called here for treatment but the police took her away.
16. Jogi Singh - I am the resident of Shivdaspur. I was born here. I have a tea shop. I was present there when this incident took place. It was about 3.00 p.m. I was lying down at the upper floor and was seeing that some people were dragging, manhandling, robbing women. There were around 300-400 people. They came in two buses and then my son confined me in a room. They continued looting and robbing for 1 ½ hours. Police arrived after 10-20 minutes. All left at 4.00 p.m. Then I saw that my shop has been looted. They were picking up women, arresting prostitutes, major and minor girls. First day, 31 women were arrested including 4-6 minor girls. 4 minor girls have been arrested from the premises of Rehmat. Rehmat Khan and his nephew Ashiq and nephew Sheru, Bhola used to run trafficking (sale-purchase) of girls. They would bring these girls from Bengal and Bihar. Girls are brought daily after a day or two. Two girls were brought one day prior to the incident. Shankar is one of the main persons who brought the girls.
The Fact Finding Committee had detailed discussion with regard to sequence of entire incident with different communities, local residents, police administration, and students of Kashi Hindu University, Prof. M.P. Singh, Distt. Magistrate, Varanasi, Chairman, Child Welfare Board, President, Gudia, Gram Pradhan of Shivdaspur and Manduadeeh, Supdt. of Jail, Chaukaghat, victim women, rescued minor girls and others. The facts related to the incident of 25.10.05 specifically relating to this problem which have come into light are bound to jolt the society.
The flesh trade in Shivdaspur Red Light Area is not a new trade, as this locality has been known for about more than the last 40 years for this flesh trade. However, incidents taking place in this area for past some time have been very surprising and shocking and such facts have come to light that minor and major girls are abducted and brought here not only from Varanasi but also from Kanpur, Jaunpur, Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Nepal and are forcibly pushed into this flesh trade and this place is developing a big market for illegal activities. In the second week of October, students of Kashi Hindu University got a letter from a rickshaw puller written in Bengali language in which some minor girl stated the fact of going back to the house of her father after fleeing from there. That girl had written the address Kakinal, Siyaldeh Railway Colony in that letter. The students of Law Faculty of Kashi Hindu University with the said letter met Prof. M.P. Singh, Former Dean of Law Faculty and asked to get that girl rescued whereupon Prof. M.P. Singh asked them to meet Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia NGO.
As per advice of Prof M.P. Singh, the students met Shri Ajit Singh on 23.10.05. During discussion, this also came to knowledge that some more minor girls have been abducted and brought to the red light area. Thereupon, students and workers of Gudia wrote a letter on 25.10.05 to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Varanasi with the intention to get those girls rescued from that hell, and as per statement of Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia, after talking to him over telephone expressed desire to meet him personally and at that time itself, all the facts in detail were conveyed to him. The Senior Superintendent of Police asked him to meet at his residence but when President of Gudia reached his residence, he had left for lunch.
Seeing the gravity of matter, Shri Ajit Singh after waiting upto 3.45 p.m. left for red light area leaving behind one of his colleague with letter at the residence of Senior Superintendent of Police. At about 4.45 p.m. Senior Superintendent of Police came to his office and recorded the note of immediate action on the said letter of Gudia and asked him to meet C.O., Cantt. who was present in a school in connection with Panchayat Election located at a short distance from the place of occurrence. As per C.O., Cantt., at about 4.30 p.m. Senior Superintendent of Police also informed him over phone in this regard that minor girls have been brought in red light area and they have to be rescued from there.
However, the police did not reach at the spot for a long time whereupon as per Shri Ajit Singh, concerned people possibly came to know of this action, the brothel owners started removing girls from there and seeing such a situation and as it was getting dark, workers of Gudia and students were compelled to take action of their own and they surrounded the identified houses and rescued 31 women including 19 minors from the premises of brothel owners and middlemen and at first they were kept in a room of office of Gudia located in the same area and later on they were taken to the police station in a bus. Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia, his wife Smt Santavna Manju and about 125 students of University carried out this entire operation. During the incident at about 6 p.m. SHO, Manduadeeh and after him C.O., Cantt. reached the spot whereas it is the statement of C.O., Cantt. that at 5.15 p.m. on receiving a phone call from an unknown person, he reached at the spot.
After reaching police station, as it is evident from the First Information Report, which was registered by Shri Ajit Singh, that it was registered at 9.30 p.m. Only after that eight FIRs have been lodged and the various cases have been got registered by the police against Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia and his wife Smt Santavna Manju and others under Sections 392/376/394/354/342/427/382/511/ 506/452/323.
The Senior Superintendent of Police has made allegation against Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia for taking law into his hands and cheating him. This allegation has also been made that he with the students indulged in looting and misbehaving with women in the area.
The question that arises is that if any crime is taking place before the eyes of a citizen and within his knowledge, whether he has right to oppose or stop it? So far the question of cheating the Head of Police is concerned, there is contradiction in his own statement. Taking cognizance of the matter on the letter sent by Gudia, he himself has recorded note of taking immediate action and has also admitted having talks over telephone with Ajit Singh at 2.15 p.m. However, for what reasons, he informed of the same to C.O., Cantt. after about two hours. This question is worth considering that after recording note of immediate action, he directs C.O., Cantt. after lapse of more than 2 – 2½ hours whereas C.O., Cantt. has reached at the spot not on the directions of Sr. Supdt of Police but after getting telephone call from third person.
In addition to above, Dr. M.P. Singh has also stated that he also talked to Senior Superintendent of Police over telephone at 5 p.m. During conversation, heated arguments ensued as well.
The reply to the validity of the action taken by students and Gudia has been given by former Dean of Law Faculty Shri M.P. Singh in his statement. A citizen has right to interfere under the right of defence under Section 81, 97 and 100 I.P.C.
Besides this, so far the questions of charges made against Shri Ajit Singh, his wife Smt Manju, workers of Gudia and students of University is concerned, these charges are serious in nature as charges of looting, rape, theft, dacoity, etc., have been leveled against them. The question now arises as to why the students were not stopped from committing crimes such as looting and rape in the presence of huge numbers of local residents and police as C.O., Cantt. has stated that he arrived at the spot and that time students were present with the rescued girls. In support of these charges, the Senior Superintendent of Police submitted a C.D., as evidence to the members of Committee. On viewing that C.D., it is clear that it is not the original C.D. and facts of the same were tampered with. In that C.D. Shri Navneet Sikera himself are trying to get answers according to his convenience and preference from those women by putting his own words into their mouth. Not only this, proof of tutored statements of women is also available in the said C.D. Voice of some women are audible but their faces have been covered in darkness. It appears that the women are leveling such allegations against Shri Ajit Singh, Workers of Gudia and students under some pressure and influence.
Shri Sikera has himself stated in his statement that he reached the spot after 1.30 a.m. and after that he called media by making telephone calls, why Shri Sikera did not reach the place of occurrence immediately after getting information of incident? This fact is also worth mentioning here that during the time to rescue the girls, police reached the spot and after that PSC and STF also arrived at the spot. Media people were also present there during the incident and the live telecast of the incident was being aired on Sahara T.V. There was no mention of those incidents of rampage and looting at that time. It is clear from this that the charges of rampage, looting, rioting, misbehavior, rape have been deliberately fabricated against President of Gudia and students and it appears that there is no truth in these charges.
The Fact Finding Team also had detailed discussion in this regard with the respectable people of the area. They all gave detailed information regarding the incident of 25.10.05 and stated that Rehmat and his wife Afzal are leaders of red light area and Tulsi and Laloo are their associates. He is the history sheeter of Kanpur and after coming here, he is involved in trafficking (smuggling) of girls and forcing the girls into prostitution. Owners of other brothel houses buy girls from him. Besides this, he recovers money @ Rs. 50 per day per girl and out of this money, a share is also given to the police station. The local people stated that in the month of October, many girls, most of them are minors were brought here. Police does not take any action against Rehmat and the brothel owners.
As per them, the incident that occurred on 215.10.05 was justified. Had Ajit Singh and students not carried the said operation, perhaps not a single girl could have been rescued. The local people have termed the allegations as false, which have been leveled against workers of Gudia and others. They have stated that Ajit Singh holds a very high regard in the area. He and his colleagues have not committed any such act like looting. Not a single independent person has been found saying this in the CD issued by police itself.
So far the question of rescued girls is concerned, the Committee by sending letter to Distt. Magistrate and City Magistrate requested for grant of permission to meet them (girls). On the order of City Magistrate, members of the Committee visited Women Protection Home, Shivpur and after meeting some girls, recorded their statements and almost all the girls are minors with whom members had conversation. Though they all were under mental tension and agony. However, the facts told by them to the members of the Committee are pathetic and heart churning. On this or that pretext, after abducting or on the pretext of arranging work for them, or on the pretext of helping some minor girls, who forgot way to her home, to reach her home, or on the pretext of marrying her or luring her in the name of marriage, all of them have been brought and sold out in the red light area. All the girls have also told that at what price they have been sold out. Most of the girls stated the fact of Rehmat buying them and forcing them to this flesh trade by beating and using force on them.
They also stated that it is Rehmat who sells some girls to owners of other brothel houses to carry on this flesh trade. Many girls told that their employers told that they have to spent Rs One lakh on them and Rs.40 thousand is to be paid to police and they (girls) have to earn and give income from Rs 800 to Rs 1000 and sometime even more than this per day, otherwise they are badly beaten. It is a surprise that the only daughter of a Senior Police Officer of Bengal is one among those unfortunate girls.
It is clear from the statements of these girls that those girls were recently brought in the red light area fraudulently after luring them and were sold for this flesh trade and they have been rescued on 25.10.05 by Gudia and students. Except few, they all want to go back to their respective home. However, they are apprehensive whether their parents would accept them or not. They have not made any complaint of misbehavior, looting or theft etc. whatsoever against Gudia and students.
The Fact Finding Committee was not told by any local resident or affected victim women, minor girls that Shri Ajit Singh or workers of Gudia recover monthly money. Only some people of police are making such type of allegations against the President of Gudia which do not appear true.
Besides above, members of Committee visited Women Protection Home, Jaitupura from where they came to know that women have been sent to Distt. Jail Chaukaghat. Shri Dadhi Ram Maurya, Supdt. of Jail expressed his inability to allow members to meet women despite the order of City Magistrate. He said that meeting with arrested women, middlemen, brothel owners, women involved in flesh trade is not permitted. According to him 24 persons have been put in Chaukaghat Jail in this case out of which four girls are of less than eighteen years of age. All these persons have been in jail from 27th-28th October. However, their medical examination could not have been done till 4.11.05.
On meeting Distt. Magistrate, he told that they would extend full cooperation to the Committee but the circumstances in which brothel owners, middlemen and women involved in flesh trade have been arrested as criminals for various, permission cannot be given to meet them and it was not informed as to for what reasons four minor girls have been put within the boundary of jail among the criminals and why medical examination of all of them have not been got done from any doctor for such a long period. The Committee considers this action as gross violation of human rights.
Incidents subsequent to 25.10.05:
The Senior Superintendent of Police after reaching the spot after mid night of 25.10.05 was showing sympathy towards Tulsi alias Maina, Afzal, Kaloo, and Asgar Purnima, Savra Devi, Renu, Reshma and Kali and others, calling them helpless women and calling Ajit Singh of Gudia and students of Kashi Hindu University vagabonds (aawaaraa) on their behalf, cases under various Sections were registered against Gudia, its workers and students, and after a few hours, the same women were arrested by the police on 26.10.05 after beating them mercilessly and Senior Superintendent of Police announced to start operation dry in the said area, whereas the case has been registered by Gudia against those women and Rehmat Ali and others, but contrarily, SHO and police of police station are giving statement in their favour before the media and getting prepared a CD and is trying to hold Shri Ajit Singh, President of Gudia, Smt Santavna Manju, and students guilty.
The police conducted raids on 26, 27, 28 October, 2005 and arrested all the women, minor girls, brothel owners and others from the red light area. As per the statement of Police Chief, he has resolved to cleanse this area from this anti social evil by carrying out operation dry out. However, this action of the police chief is violation of spirit of law and action plan framed by Government of India for rehabilitation of sex workers, their children etc. and protecting their rights.
Taking such action without making scheme for legal rights and rehabilitation of women, protection from exploitation under Action Plan Part-1 is wrong in the law and amounts to open violation of their human rights.
As per Action Plan Part 2, without making concrete arrangement to prevent such anti social work, to prevent trafficking/smuggling of girls, to create awareness among them and arrangement for education, health facility of their children and without providing housing and other civic facilities for them and their families rehabilitation in addition to starting movement to strengthen their financial condition, such action taken by the police is not lawful and has no social justification. Such action is open violation of fundamental rights of the said women and their children and rights of their livelihood. Such action can be taken under I.T.P. Act and Action Plan only against brothel owners and organized criminal traffickers/smugglers running this trade.
On the basis of facts collected by the Committee and aforesaid discussion, the Committee arrives at the findings as under:
- That not only trafficking/smuggling of women, minor girls in Shivdaspur red light area is going on unabated, it has increased in the past for some time. Women, minor girls are brought from different parts of the country and are sold here and they are forced to take up flesh trade. This illegal immoral work has intensified in the past for some time. The connivance, involvement, and role of police with traffickers, middlemen, and brothel owners is an open secret.
- That Rehmat, his wife Afzal, and others have been involved for a long period in trafficking of women and minor girls and forcing and pushing them in the flesh trade, knowing very well that the police has neither taken any action against them for a long time and nor arrested or initiated any effective steps to prevent this heinous dirty trade (trafficking). No action has been taken on the measures suggested in the National Plan 1998 to prevent such trafficking.
- That before taking action by students and Gudia on 25.10.05, they gave prior information to the Police Chief. In fact, Prof. M.P. Singh also had discussion with SSP in this regard on that day. However, not only the police officer deliberately reached late at the spot, but the C.O., Cantt did not even go there on the order of S.S.P. In fact, he reached there very late on getting phone call from some third person. It appears from this that the police administration showed no interest in reaching the spot for this action.
- That on seeing the brothel owners, and middlemen shifting girls from the said place, and due to police not reaching the spot for a long time, President of Gudia and students were constrained to take decision to initiate action on their own and the action to rescue girls was first taken up and they succeeded in getting rescued 31 girls including 19 minor girls. This cannot be denied that the brothel owners and middlemen had got the information of possible action and they could have succeeded in shifting girls somewhere else in case of delay in taking action and they even succeeded in shifting some girls from there.
- It is clear after seeing the CD issued by Senior Superintendent of Police, after conversation with public of red light area and seeing the programme of media that the rampage and looting took place at the night of 25.10.05 is also the act done in the presence of police and within its knowledge under the conspiracy with the intention to implicate President of Gudia and Smt Santavana Manju and students.
- That the rescued girls are in severe mental agony, pain, and tension and it is not justified and proper to record their statements under Section 164 before soothing and de-traumatising them. It is very necessary that the administration make immediate arrangement for their psychological treatment so that they may become stablised at the earliest.
- That after 25.10.05, rescued women and 4 minor girls with them have also been put in the jail by the police and their medical examination could not have been done till 4.11.05. The said action of Administration and Jail Administration is totally wrong and amounts to open violation of human rights.
- That there is no legal justification for operation dry out being started by the police against remaining girls and women in addition to minor girls rescued. Rehabilitation of such women and their children is necessary in accordance with National Action Plan in a time bound scheme.
- That it is necessary that severest action under ITP Act is taken against traffickers, smugglers, brothel owners, middlemen, and others.
- Immediate effective steps may be taken to prevent trafficking/smuggling, sale purchase of women, minor children/girls and as per National Action Plan 1998 Part 2 (2), police officer be appointed immediately to prevent trafficking.
- The administration should constitute a Committee with the cooperation of NGOs, Intellectuals, Advocates to prevent such human trafficking, smuggling, sale purchase which committee may watch such incidents and ensure that such incidents may not recur.
- The parents, guardians of rescued minor girls may be traced out and they may be encouraged to accept these girls and financial assistance may be provided by the Government for their livelihood, education, and arrangement for their immediate repatriation to their homes be made by the administration.
- The Government should immediately make arrangement under National Action Plan 1998 for rehabilitation of rescued girls, women, and their children.
- The administration should take effective steps to take legal action against people involved in trafficking of women and children from different districts and their trading and forcing/pushing them into the flesh trade.
- The Government should constitute a committee comprising of educated respectable citizens, educationists, advocates, and social organizations to look after and manage Juvenile Houses, Women Protection Home which committee may from time to time extend its cooperation to the Administration with regard to reforms required for system of functioning.
- Arrangement for separate Shelter Home for minor girls in Varanasi city must be made immediately.
- That the Government order a judicial enquiry with regard to incident of 25.10.05 and trafficking of women and minor girls in red light area and legal action may be taken against guilty police personnel and they be punished.
- The bogus false cases registered against students of Kashi Hindu University, President of Gudia and his wife and workers be immediately withdrawn.
(Note: Names of girls have been changed for the purpose of their safety)