Girl escapes from Devdasi's life, gang-raped
Girish Sharma / Bhopal
When girls her age spend most of their time in studying or playing, 16-year-old Anita (name changed) can only curse her fate.
Married at 13 and abandoned by husband, Anita was forced into the cruel Devdasi system by her parents two years ago.
After escaping from the Ashram the minor girl was held captive and was gang-raped in Nanded, and was put on a train, which brought her to Bhopal.
The Bhopal Childline rescued the girl and is now making efforts to search for her parents.
Anita is presently with the Childline office. She was moving on JK road, when Ms Jyoti, a resident of Minal Residency informed the Childline office that a girl standing near a shop is crying and needs help.
Subsequently, the childline employees brought Anita to the office. She narrated the whole story to Childline Director Ms Archana Sahay. "It was really horrifying story. It is unbelievable that she faced these atrocities in short-span of life," said Ms Sahay.
The girl while talking to The Pioneer informed that she hailed from Nanded (Maharashtra) and her father Prakash Palkuntwar was working at a jewellery show room. She was married off three years ago to Arjun Rao of Parel village in the same district.
Soon after the marriage, the in-laws started harassing her for not bringing in handsome dowry.
Finally, she was left with her parents. Her parents later moved court and Anita received divorce from Arjun Rao. "As few months passed, the parents found that I was a burden on them and they handed me to Shri Krishna Mandir Manubhav Pant Ashram at Ahmednagar where I was married to Lord Krishna and thus entered Devdasi system," said Anita.
Anita did her education upto class nine at Nanded and belongs to a middle-class family. In the Ashram, when she did not like to stay and expressed feelings, the employees took her to Nanded. The neighbours informed that Mr Prakash along with the family left the place and probably staying at Aurangabad. Last month, she managed to flee from the Ashram in search of her parents and reached Nanded, where she was sexually harassed in the jungles. A bypasser rescued her and boarded in a train.
The girl is not aware as how she reached Bhopal. She does not even know where Bhopal is.
Ms Sahay informed that the Ahmednagar Childline has been contacted in this connection. The employees sad that there are four Ashrams of similar identity in the city and they need to be checked. "First of all, we want to search for her parents. If the parents are not found or they refuse to accept her, Anita would be handed over to asylum in Ahmednagar," she added. The excessive rains in different parts of the country have forced six children to remain in Childline office for the past 10 days.