Police Crack Down on Trafficking Ring, Rescue Minors from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh; High-Ranking Officials Arrested

In February 2024, Women and Child Development Minister Ajanta Neog disclosed that Assam had recorded over 3,700 cases of missing children in the past three years.
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Guwahati- A sweeping crackdown on a child trafficking and prostitution ring in Arunachal Pradesh has led to the arrest of 21 individuals, including several government employees such as a Deputy Superintendent of Police and a Deputy Director in the Directorate of Health Services.

Over the past 10 days, police have rescued five minor girls, aged 10, 12, and three at 15, from various locations in and around the state capital, Itanagar.

These girls were trafficked from villages in Assam to Itanagar. Shockingly, two of them, including the 10-year-old and the 12-year-old, were trafficked when they were just 8 years old, according to police reports.

Out of the 21 individuals apprehended thus far, 10 stand accused of various offenses including trafficking the victims, soliciting customers, and facilitating the victims' interactions with said customers.

The remaining 11 are alleged to be "customers" who reportedly engaged in sexual assault against the victims.

Notably among them are Buland Marik, a Deputy SP with the Arunachal police; Dr. Senlar Ronya, a Deputy Director with the Directorate of Health Services; Toi Bagra, a constable with the Arunachal police; Takam Langdip, an Assistant Engineer with the Public Works Department; and Michi Tabin, a Junior Engineer with the Rural Works Department.

In the ongoing investigation, police identified a couple, Dulal Basumatary, 52, and Dipali Basumatary, 44, who operate the City Hotel at Zoo Road in Itanagar, along with their manager, Deepak Parajuli, 24, as key figures in the illicit operation.

Hailing from Udalguri, the Basumatarys, along with Parajuli from Assam's Narayanpur, stand accused of facilitating the trafficking and exploitation of minors.

The roots of this abhorrent crime stretch back to May 1, when police first uncovered the inter-state prostitution and human trafficking racket. The rescue of four minors and the subsequent arrest of 15 individuals, including six government servants, shed light on the extent of the network involved.

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According to police reports, the minor girls, were trafficked from Dhemaji in Assam to Arunachal Pradesh by two sisters, Pushpanjali and Purnima Mili, who allegedly operated a brothel in Itanagar.

The rescued girls recounted their ordeal, revealing that they were brought to Itanagar by the Mili sisters. In a subsequent operation, two more minor girls trafficked from Dhemaji were liberated from the clutches of Pushpanjali Mili.

Tragically, these young victims were coerced into prostitution by the Mili sisters and two other accomplices. The investigation further uncovered the involvement of two hotels and a beauty parlour in facilitating this heinous crime, painting a grim picture of exploitation and depravity.

The Mooknayak talked to Superintendent of Police Rohit Rajbir Singh, who is handling the case. Talking about the update on the case, he stated that since the recovery of the children have already taken place, the department now is focusing on recording the evidences and charge sheeting it as soon as possible.

When questioned about any discernible patterns in such incidents, Singh disclosed that there have been multiple occasions where children from Assam were trafficked to Arunachal Pradesh.

Ms. Kenjum Pakam, Chairperson of the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) conveyed dismay and outrage regarding the sex trafficking to The Mooknayak.

“I have just submitted a letter to the Director general of police, asking them to take the situation seriously,” revealed Pakam.

Talking about the arrests, she further appreciated the work being done by Itanagar police.

“The arrest of a Deputy Superintendent of Police shows that the department is not taking it lightly and is invested in the process,” claimed the chairperson.

In November 2019, the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) reported a staggering 55% increase in child trafficking cases across the state compared to the previous year.

During a press conference, ASCPCR Chairperson Sunita Changkakati disclosed that the organization had registered 125 cases of various crimes against children in that year alone.

Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Minister Ajanta Neog revealed alarming statistics in the state Assembly in February 2024. She stated that over the past three years, more than 3,700 children had gone missing in Assam, with over 3,400 of them subsequently rescued by various agencies.

Additionally, Minister Neog highlighted that from 2012 to 2023, a total of 6,054 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, of which 3,522 cases have been resolved.

The minister emphasized that child trafficking cases were reported from nearly every district in the state, with Kamrup, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, and Biswanath witnessing the highest number of such incidents.

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