Thursday, August 11, 2005

Teen escapes sex trade

OUR CORRESPONDENT
The Telegraph (Calcutta)

Krishnagar, Aug. 9: Tasmina Khatun agreed to elope with Muku Mondal, a man she loved, not knowing the nightmare she was inviting.

Police yesterday rescued the 15-year-old girl from the Sunderbans when she was about to be taken to Kashmir to be sold off to flesh traders.

Muku, a trader from Patpukur village of Nakashipara in Nadia district, is married and had been faking an affair with Tasmina for the last few months, the police said. With the help of another youth of the locality, Sajamal Mandol, he had plotted to sell her in Kashmir.

Sajamal’s wife Rukshana Bibi helped her husband to persuade Tasmina that she should elope with Muku as he loved her.

Tasmina, also from Nakashipara, about 130 km from Calcutta, decided to elope with 35-year-old Muku last week. She said she was in love with him.

“Initially, I was not eager to marry him, as my father did not approve of our relationship. But Rukshana told me that Muku would commit suicide unless I married him,” Tasmina said. “Rukshana also told me that Muku would marry me in the Sunderbans and we would go to Kashmir for our honeymoon.”

Muku told Tasmina to proceed for the Sunderbans with Sajamal. A week ago, they left for Mousuni island, over 200 km from Calcutta.

On reaching there, Sajamal kept Tasmina at a relative’s house and told them that Tasmina was the wife of his friend Muku, who would arrive soon.

Back in Nakashipara, Tasmina’s father Tentul Sheikh lodged a complaint. He did not know his daughter had gone with Sajamal but some villagers told the police they had seen the two leaving.

“When we went to Sajamal’s house, his wife broke down under intense interrogation and told us everything,” said Anupam Chakraborty, officer in charge of Nakashipara police station. Rukshana was arrested.

At Mousuni, the farmer family with whom Tasmina was staying became suspicious and informed the police. Police teams from Nakashipara and Namkhana rescued Tasmina but Muku and Sajamal are absconding.

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