Jayashankar Pandey, Asha Parivar
A 20 years old daughter of social activists V.K. Rai and Pushpa Rai, associated with Centre for Environment and Rural Technology (CERT), was kidnapped on the morning of 5 February 2008 from Bhadohi in Sant Ravi Das Nagar of U.P.
She was on way to her college, Kashi Naresh Rajkiya Snatakottar Mahavidyalaya in Gyanpur, the district headquarters, where she is a student of B.A. II year. A case has been registered at Kotwali, Gyanpur under section (u/s) 303 and 366 on the evening of 5 February 2008.
V.K. Rai and Pushpa Rai have been recently involved in raising the issue of Santoshi, daughter of a carpet weaver, who has been sexually exploited for many years by a powerful carpet manufacturer Ghulam Rasool. Santoshi also has a 2.5 years son from Ghulam Rasool and is presently pregnant with another baby. She has been the victim of Ghulam Rasool’s sexual exploitation since she was 13-14 years. When she delivered the first baby, she was given a place to stay by Ghulam Rasool. However, last year Ghulam Rasool’s sons found out about Santoshi and expelled her from that house. She now lives in a makeshift bamboo-hay structure. She insisted that Ghulam Rasool should marry her. When he refused, she went and complained to the authorities. A FIR has been registered against Ghulam Rasool for raping a minor.
V.K. Rai and Pushpa Rai had instituted a fact finding mission in this matter and were helping Santoshi fight for her rights. They had also announced a sit-in outside Santoshi’s present habitation and in front of Ghulam Rasool’s residence on 7 February 2008 along with other social organizations. Two days before this dharna their daughter was kidnapped. They believe that Ghulam Rasool is responsible for this act.
The Rai family is spending sleepless nights imagining worst possible things with their daughter. They deserve all our support in this hour of grief. We hope that their daughter will return to them soon. We are in continuous communication with the administration and police and they are making their best possible effort to trace her.
Chandauli (presently in Bhadohi)