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NHRC Notice to Rajasthan on Reported ‘Auctioning of Girls on Stamp Paper’ on Caste Panchayat Diktats

NEW DELHI – Taking suo motu cognisance of reports that girls are being “sold on stamp papers” in some districts of Rajasthan and their mothers are subjected to rape on the diktats of caste panchayats for settlement of disputes, the NHRC has asked the Chief Secretary for a detailed report in the matter, along with an action taken report, measures taken and if not, proposed to be taken to prevent such happenings.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that the report must also contain how the state government is ensuring the functions of the Gram Panchayat, as per the constitutional provisions or Panchayati Raj laws, to eradicate the caste-based system impinging the human rights and the right to dignity of girls and women in the state.

A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Rajasthan to submit a detailed report mentioning the initiation of criminal prosecution against the perpetrators of such crime and their abettors/sympathisers.

The apex human rights body said that the report must contain the status of cases, including the registration of FIRs, charge sheets, arrest, if any, in such incidents and the mechanism initiated to apprehend the people involved in such systematic crimes of flesh trade in the state.

“The report must also mention steps being taken or proposed to be taken against the public servant(s), who purported to have neglected perpetually prevention of such incidents. The response from both the Chief Secretary and DGP is expected within four weeks,” it said.

The NHRC also said that reportedly whenever there is a dispute between two parties, particularly involving financial transactions and loans etc, girls aged between 8-18 are auctioned to recover money. These girls are being sent to UP, MP, Mumbai, Delhi and even foreign countries and subjected to physical abuse, torture and sexual assault in slavery.

Media reports have documented the ordeal of many victims of such horrendous crimes, it said.

According to the media report, whenever there is any dispute between the two parties in Bhilwara, they, instead of going to the police, approach the caste panchayats for its settlement. As per the report, in order to pay off Rs 15 lakh debt, a caste panchayat forced a man to sell his sister first and even after this when the debt was not cleared, he was forced to sell his 12-year-old daughter. The buyer purchased the girl for Rs 8 lakh. Thereafter, all the five sisters became slaves but still their father could not pay off his debt.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to human rights violations of the victims of the such abominable practice. It has also asked its Special Rapporteur Umesh Kumar Sharma to visit and inspect the affected areas and submit a comprehensive report on the incidents noted about and the prevailing practice in the area, at the earliest, preferably, not later than three months. -IANS

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