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Police in Jharkhand are still searching for a girl trafficked to three states and raped over the course of several years

The political leader was not named in the original FIR registered in 2019. (Representative Image)

In a case relating to rape and POCSO that was registered in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand in 2019, a police team travelled to Chhattisgarh to arrest a political leader.

Following the police, this is the fifth time a team travelled to the neighbouring state to arrest the accused political leader – each time, he has absconded.

Specifically, the case concerns the rape and gang rape of the girl, who was 15 when the lawsuit was filed in 2019. As a victim of sex trafficking, she was sexually assaulted by multiple defendants in multiple locations across at least four states, according to court records.

According to court records, she was raped in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, and once again in the East Singhbhum district.

Based on details from police records, the minor kept a diary in which she wrote the names and numbers of some of the alleged perpetrators and drew lines for each person who she believed had raped her. In 2019, a hotel owner in East Singhbhum reported the crime to the police when she was brought to the hotel for the offence.

It is alleged that the police have invoked IPC Sections 366A (inducement of any minor girl to illicit intercourse, forced or otherwise), 370 (trafficking), 376(3) (rape with a minor), 376(D) (gang rape), among others, besides POCSO and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Acts.

The Senior Superintendent of Police in East Singhbhum, Prabhat Kumar, stated: “This is not the first time that police have gone to Chhattisgarh to arrest (the accused persons). Five of the ten accused have been arrested, and a charge sheet has been filed against them. Among the remaining five, a political party leader will be arrested in the near future.”

In response to a question regarding the delay in the arrest of all accused men, SSP Kumar responded, “It is an ongoing investigation… We couldn’t arrest the political leader earlier (in Chhattisgarh), but we will be able to do so soon.”

Even though the political leader is an accused individual, the police investigate whether he committed rape.

The political leader was not named in the original FIR registered in 2019. In the subsequent charge sheet, his name had been added. In May of this year, the trial in court began.

In 2013, the minor, then nine years old, was first raped by a relative, according to court records. Her relatives allegedly forced her to work in a clothing store in East Singhbhum, where another individual raped her.

In addition, she was taken by train to Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, where eight men raped her, according to the records.

A court record indicates that she was later brought back to East Singhbhum district and taken to the residence of a police officer. In court documents, it is stated that “…four to five police personnel made physical contact with her…and that (for the next few days) approximately 2-4 (different) individuals committed wrongdoings against her every day.”

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