Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on Friday wrote a letter to Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot seeking action over reports of the auctioning of minor girls in Rajasthan.
The Commission took cognizance of a media report that says girls as young as eight years old are being openly auctioned on stamp paper in over half a dozen districts of the state.
The report has stated that whenever there is a dispute between two parties, particularly involving financial transactions and loans, people approach caste-based panchayats to settle the matter.
These panchayats settle financial disputes and recover the money by auctioning young girls belonging to the lender families. The girls are then sent to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Delhi and even abroad and subjected to physical abuse, torture and sexual assault.
If the families refuse to sell their girls, their mothers are subjected to rape on the diktats of the local caste panchayats.
The report has mentioned some of the cases, wherein girls have narrated their ordeals. In one case, a girl was informed that her father had taken a loan of ₹15 lakh. When he was unable to pay back the loan, he was forced to sell his sister, then his three daughters, and subsequently a 12-year-old girl from the family, who was also sold for ₹8 lakh. The girl stated that the buyer took her to Madhya Pradesh. She further informed us that her father’s loan is still not fully paid.
In her letter, Maliwal has termed the matter horrific and has recommended the strictest action against those involved in these criminal activities. She has also recommended action against the public officials who have allowed such criminals to prosper and failed to do their duty to protect the women and girls of the state.
Further, Maliwal has suggested that steps should be taken to ensure that such incidents no longer take place in the state and that the girls who have been sold in the past must be tracked immediately and steps must be taken by the government for their rescue and rehabilitation.
In her letter, Maliwal stated, “I am shocked and at a complete loss for words. How can such heinous and criminal activity be allowed to exist in Rajasthan in the full public gaze?”
“Just like ISIS, women are forced into sex slavery and subjected to the utmost cruelty! The Rajasthan government should take the strictest action against people involved in this practice. Also, girls who have been sold must be tracked and rescued, and the government must ensure their rehabilitation,” she wrote.