In drought-hit Maharashtra, young ‘brides’ have good resale value #Vaw


By Ganesh N, IE

With drought in Maharashtra, ‘selling’ and ‘reselling’ of brides is likely to become an increasingly lucrative business for nefarious elements—the bride agents. It has been known that the agents scour Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to look for prospective brides for men from gender-skewed regions of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, western regions of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district, which has been officially tagged as one of the most backward districts in the country, has become one of favoured hunting spots for these agents.

A recent case, in which five adolescent girls went missing from the district, saw the political mercury in the district soar and the police swing into action. It was a 700-kilometre trail that the police had to follow. With the five girls from the slum being sold as ‘brides’ to desperate unmarried men in Madhya Pradesh, a special team of the Maharashtra Police had to pursue the case in Ashok Nagar district in the neighbouring state. Led by Assistant Inspector Yogesh Pardhi, the Maharashtra Police team was determined to bring back the girls, aged between 16 and 20.

What Pardhi and his team learnt during the investigation was quite intriguing. The police had managed to arrest one of the agents who had sold one of the minor girls to a man from Shadora village in Ashok Nagar in Madhya Pradesh. Police team found out that the agents who sold off those women got Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 for every woman sold. However, one of the five girls from Chandrapur, who had been sold for Rs 30,000, had returned to her agent owing to the ill-treatment at the hands of her owner. The agent was too happy to resell her a second time and pocketed Rs 35,000. Pardhi had no answer as to why the girl did not return to her family when she had the opportunity, and instead approached her agent.

Though Pardhi had no answers, Shafiqur Rehman Khan of Campaign Against Bride Trafficking has them. “The ceremony solemnising such marriages are most appropriately called as Thag Vivah (cheat marriage). Rarely does the bride enjoy the social status of a wife. These women are either known as Paro brides, as in stolen, or Molki brides as in purchased,” said Khan. He explains Molki brides have to physically satisfy more than one person and also double as labourer on the fields.

The trading of brides also means that the few genuine bride seekers are finding it difficult to ‘stay’ married. When a 50-year-old businessman from Jaipur in Rajasthan had married a bride from Maharashtra, he thought it was coincidence that the two brides that he had earlier purchased from agents had run away. In two months the man has spent Rs 2.50 lakh on three brides. However, his third bride from Maharashtra too ran away. Subsequent police investigation revealed that agents and the brides were hand-in glove and were sold again. The agents are finding selling brides more lucrative than dealing in brothels. And more than the buyers, the agents are more keen to sell brides owing to demand in northern states. Khan fears that with drought in Maharashtra, agents would have a field day recruiting new brides as poor families are happy to have one less mouth to feed.

Though Khan believes that it is difficult to put a precise number on the quantum of bride trafficking, he estimates that there are about dozen such brides in every village of Haryana. As agents come up with offers of new brides, the time spent by the bride in particular household is also limited. “The old brides are sold to procure new ones. It is very similar to the cattle market. The market for brides as per our study is growing steadily at the rate 20 per cent every year,” said Khan.

 

Press Release- Serial Hunger strike by 50 tribals of Gadchiroli district incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Prison. #Humanrightsday


( ABOVE IS THE POSTER MADE BY INMATES

Around 50 tribals of Gadchiroli district incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Prison as political prisoners have commenced a serial hunger strike from 10thDecember, International Human Rights Day to 21st December 2012 

These tribal prisoners have consistently protested since the last 2 years against the failure of the judicial process and high handedness of the local district police. It is not a coincidence that Shri. R.R. Patil, the State home Minister is also the guardian minister of Gadchiroli district and all such violations of Human Rights are happening under his very own patronage. In April 2011, Shri. Patil while replying to a question raised by Ms. Shobatai Fadnavis had promised the State Legislative Council that he would review all cases of tribals arrested under charges of naxalism in Gadchiroli. However, there has been no intent to fulfill this promise in the past 21 months.

Along with this demand the protesting tribals have also raised the following grievances:

  1. The practice of the Gadchiroli police to re-arrest tribals immediately after their release from prison still continues (See attachment No.2). Despite numerous petitions from prisoners and civil rights organizations this violation of Human rights goes on unabated.
  2. Inability of the State administration to inaugurate the Gadchiroli prison (See attachment No.3). Although this prison has been completed since the past 2 years, the government has still not started it. Hence tribals of Gadchiroli are incarcerated in the prisons of Nagpur, Amravati and Chandrapur– prisons which are more than 150 to 300 kms from the trial courts. Resultantly, these tribals are not being produced before the trial courts for the past 23 months. This distance has also caused their family links to be severed.
  3. The practice of handcuffing undertrials on their way to court also still continues, despite the Supreme Court directives against its use (See attachment No.4). Recently, due to this illegal practice four undertrials were severely injured in a road accident. However the responsible police officials are yet to be punished.
  4. A two year old boy born in prison to a tribal couple has been compelled to be separated from his father. While father was transferred to Nagpur prison, his mother remains at Amravati prison despite numerous requests pending in the trial court and jail authorities (See attachment No.5).
  5. The atrocities of the district police and especially the notorious anti-naxal C-60 commandoes go on unimpeded. A undertrial, Ramesh Naitam seeks justice in the custodial death case of his mother (See attachment No.6).

The protesting tribals have requested the State legislative bodies in session at Nagpur to look into the above issues on the occasion of International Human rights day.

On behalf of the protesting tribals,

Adv. Surendra Gadling- gsurendra12@yahoo.co.in

( attchments are in marathi if you need pl email )

Nagpur

 

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