The local administration in Chitrakoot is on a denial mode ever since India Today TV’s investigation exposed rampant sexual exploitation of minor girls from poor tribal families in this district, located nearly 700 km away from the national capital.
Our investigation showed how during the lockdown, contractors and middlemen operating in Chitrakoot’s illegal mines were forcing minor girls to trade-off their bodies for Rs 150-Rs 200. (Read full report here)
The district administration and the UP Police have however issued statements claiming that none of the minor girls in the region were sexually exploited.
This continued denial comes at a time when women and child rights commissions, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi and several activists and politicians are pressurising the Yogi Adityanath government seeking a thorough probe into this case.
Here are the top 10 developments:
1) Soon after India Today TV reported about the rampant sexual exploitation of minor tribal girls in Chitrakoot, a team comprising senior police officers from the region reached the villages and asked the girls (interviewed by India Today TV) to come out for questioning.
2) India Today reporter and camera crew were denied permission to be present during the questioning. Heavy police presence was seen outside these villages in the morning. When asked about it, the cops on duty said it was for security purpose.
3) The district administration has formed a six-member team to investigate the matter and the District Magistrate has ordered a magisterial probe. However, even before the team could investigate the case and submit its report, the District Magistrate in a statement declared that nothing has happened in Chitrakoot.
4) In his statement, DM Chitrakoot said, “I alongwith my SP spoke to a few families of Goda village, who denied any sort of sexual exploitation of their girls. Later, we visited Akbarpur village in Karvi, where we spoke to the family and the girls shown in the video, in the presence of Commissioner and the DIG. The girls and their family also totally denied that they were ever subjected to any sort of sexual exploitation.”
5) India Today TV stands with its report and is ready to provide evidence of sexual exploitation gathered during the investigation.
6) Speaking to India Today TV, Rajnish Yadav, Circle Officer, Chitrakoot, said the police team spoke to the girls “very casually in a candid manner”. “They did not verify any of these alleged incidents of sexual exploitation. There are no attempts to cover up this case. The investigation is absolutely correct. We are fully convinced that no such incident happened,” he said.
7) Meanwhile, the villages where the victims live are in a grip of fear and most people preferred staying indoors and refrained from attending their daily work. A source in the area said after the news broke out, the village pradhaan went around and tutored people what to say when contacted by anyone. “What you showed in the report is true, but no one will speak about the truth. We were told not to speak to anyone,” a villager said on condition of anonymity.
8) On the other hand, a three-member team of the UP State Commission for Protection of Child Rights will reach Chitrakoot on Friday. The Commission has already asked the Chitrakoot DM to file an FIR and submit a report before it.
9) On Wednesday, Nobel Peace Prize winner and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi demanded the UP government to investigate this case thoroughly. In a tweet, Satyarthi said, “The news of rape and the selling of minor girls for sex in Chitrakoot is utterly shameful. Incidents like these are unacceptable in any civilised society. I urge CM Yogi Adityanath to initiate a high-level independent enquiry into the matter.”
10) Besides this, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Randeep Singh Surjewala and others took to Twitter and demanded a thorough probe into this case.
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