17 Odia women rescued at Rajahmundry

Bhubaneswar:Seventeen women, all above 18 years of age, who were rescued jointly by Government Railway Police Force (GRPF) of Andhra Pradesh, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Child Helpline Members at Rajahmundry Railway Station in the early hours of April 27, were handed over to Odisha State Commission for Women (SCW) here, Tuesday.

An officer who was privy to the investigation, said, a passenger travelling in Konark Express had called the Child Helpline number to inform that some girls were being taken to Mumbai in the same train possibly for flesh trade there.

Giving details of the operation, CH Venkat Rao, DCPO (District Child Protection Officer) of East Godavari district said that the Child Helpline members contacted the Andhra Pradesh police personnel. AP police in association with the GRPF and RPF conducted a raid and rescued the women when the train arrived at Rajahmundry Railway Station. During interrogation, the versions of the women were found contradictory regarding the purpose of their journey to Mumbai.

They later informed the Andhra Pradesh Women’s Commission about the whole episode who subsequently talked to Odisha SCW.

Later, child line officers along with the DCPO brought the rescued women by a special bus escorted by the AP police to Odisha. They reached here Tuesday and were handed over to the SCW.

The rescued women, however, said that they were being taken to Mumbai to work in a prawn processing factory. AP police did not heed to their request and also allegedly tortured them saying that they were going to Mumbai to engage in flesh trade. One of them also accused AP police of torturing them.

Significantly, though the women hailed from places like Keonjhar, Berhampur, Bhanjanagar and Phulbani, they were travelling in a single bogey of the train. However, they failed to produce any satisfactory answer as to why and how they got assembled.

SCW consultant Mamata Dash said they were in trauma and reluctant to divulge the fact. They were sent to shelter homes where they will undergo counselling to know more about the reasons of their journey to Mumbai.

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