Minor Girl Kidnapped, Forced To Read Namaz And Quran In Confinement

The girl was rescued after intervention of child commission

The girl is a native of Hamirpur village in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Her birthday date, as recorded in her birth certificate, is 19 June, 2006.

See the birth certificate below:

After she went missing on 6 October, a first information report (FIR) was registered the next day at Jibantala police station (number 456/2020) under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366A (procuration of minor girl).

As can be seen, the FIR does not mention the name of suspect, Sohidul Rehman. The police also failed to invoke POCSO Act in the FIR.

See the FIR below:

A New Delhi-based organisation named Mission Mukti Foundation learnt of the case on 11 October, and took it up with higher officials of the Bengal police.

Virendra Kumar Singh, director of the NGO, told us that the police then procured a call detail record (CDR) of Rehman for three days – from 7 October to 10 October – and provided it to the NGO. The data showed that Rehman was in Bihar on 8 October, in Rajasthan the next day, and in Gujarat the day after.

These details, however, were not much helpful.

“We still did not have the tower location. In addition, days were passing by and we feared that Rehman had shifted to another state,” said Singh. The NGO then sought the intervention of New Delhi-based National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) aka child commission.

The case was eventually taken up by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of West Bengal’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

It was only on 11 November that, after obtaining the current location of Rehman, an AHTU team from Bengal left for Gujarat’s Rajkot district for recovery of the girl. “I also left for Rajkot from New Delhi on the same day. Meanwhile, child commission directed the Rajkot police to cooperate in the rescue operation,” said Singh.

See the letter by AHTU, CID, Bengal police to Rajkot police:

The girl was rescued from Jetpur in Rajkot on 12 November, two days before Diwali. In a post on Twitter, NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo likened his role in the rescue operation to “Laxmi Puja”.

The kidnapper, who is 28 as per Singh and is already married, was arrested on the charges of kidnapping as per the sections in the FIR.

The girl was brought before the child welfare committee (CWC) in Rajkot on 13 November. An official from NCPCR, without wishing to be named, told us that the girl expressed a wish to return to her parents when told that Rehman is already married and has a wife in Bengal.

We have an audio recording of a conversation between the girl and a counselor from the NGO. The girl is heard saying that Sohidul Rehman forced her to read namaz and recite ayats from the Quran in Arabic during her stay with him.

She is also heard saying that though the two did not go to a mosque to formally have a nikah ceremony, Rehman called a man home and, in his presence, read the nikahnama and made her do the same. Rehman also told her that he is her husband from now on, and repeatedly entered into physical relations with her.

The NCPCR official shared more information about the case: Rehman would talk to the girl’s aunt (mausi) over the phone. One day, the girl picked up the phone instead of the aunt. Rehman talked to her, and told her the specific time he would be calling her next. The two began to talk regularly. Some weeks ago, Rehman proposed nikah to her.

Update: By the time of publishing this article, the girl had not been returned to her parents and was in the custody of Bengal police. Her statement to the magistrate had been recorded and medical report to ascertain sexual assault had been done, but the NGO had not got the reports yet. Despite repeated attempts, we could not hold a telephonic conversation with the girl’s father due to language barrier. The only information we could gather from him is that he is a vendor and the girl studies in class 7. We will update this article as when as when get the information.

Here’s chairman of child commission, Priyank Kanoongo, confirming all details of this report.

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