Married forcibly, raped and abused, help nowhere in sight for Delhi teenager | Delhi News

Till last year, a girl in her teens was living a normal life like any school-going child her age, with dreams of going to college and becoming an English teacher. All her plans came crashing after she was forcibly married to a 25-year-old man in UP in February. Over the past few months, she was allegedly raped and impregnated by her husband and abused by her in-laws, not allowed to speak to anyone, and stopped from studying further.

She finally managed to persuade her father to let her come home in August — only to find her family, except her mother, turning their backs on her. For the past two days, amid pressure to return to her in-laws and threats to kill her, the girl, now seven months pregnant, has been running from pillar to post for help. But neither the Delhi Police nor the Child Welfare Committee have been able to find a safe home for her yet.

The Delhi Police has detained the husband as he was allegedly threatening to hurt the minor. A senior police officer said since the incident took place in another state, they have lodged a Zero FIR against the husband and his family under sections of rape, causing hurt and the POCSO Act.

Police also conducted an enquiry and found that the accused sexually and physically assaulted the victim “several times” at his house. The minor was taken to AIIMS Hospital where doctors confirmed her pregnancy.

The FIR lodged on Friday, accessed by The Indian Express, states that the minor was taken to her aunt’s place in Farrukhabad on January 14 on the pretext of attending a cousin’s birthday but was left there by her parents. In February, she was forced to get married.

Festive offer

“(My husband) made physical relations with me and I got pregnant. After two-three months, I came back home. Ten days ago, (my husband) came to Delhi and (tried to) force me to go back with him. My mother told him no. I don’t wish to live with my husband because he assaults me and has stopped me from going to school,” alleged the girl, as per the FIR.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the accused husband, along with the girl’s family members, allegedly threatened to kill her if she didn’t go back. She then approached her neighbours who informed a local NGO to help her and call the police.

On Friday, the minor told The Indian Express that no one in her family, except her mother, is helping her. “I was never told I would be married at a young age… my father pushed me to get married. I have been insulted, assaulted and tortured since I told everyone that I don’t wish to live with my husband. He raped me. Two weeks back when he came to Delhi, he tried to rape me again…,” she alleged.

Mother and daughter had to stay at the police station on Thursday since they had nowhere to go. “Everyone is against her. I now understand what she is going through… we just want help from the authorities. Everyone is out there to hurt us…,” said the mother.

Safe homes not an option for now

A police officer confirmed that the minor and her mother stayed at the police station since two shelter homes refused to take her in.

This despite an order from the CWC Chairperson, accessed by The Indian Express, allowing the girl’s application to be placed in an institution. “Child (has) shared safety issue as family engaged in child marriage and other illegal acts. Child also needs over high protective shelter…,” read the order.

When contacted, a senior official from the Delhi government’s Women and Child Development department said the girl wasn’t allowed to stay with the minors since she is pregnant and can’t stay with adult women since she is a minor.

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While a separate home for pregnant minors has been created by the Department of Social Welfare, the minor has not been accepted there either as they are in the process of verifying her documents. “She will be sent to a Nirmal Chhaya centre. It’s a case of child marriage and we need to conduct an enquiry before taking action. We are in touch with police to expedite proceedings,” said the official.

Till then, police said the minor and her mother have been sent to her maternal grandmother’s house — 1 km away from where her parents live.

Nirmal Gorana, Convener, National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour, said, “I received information about the minor… We are facing a lot or challenges since the shelter homes aren’t lodging her and the CWC isn’t taking her in. Who will take responsibility?…”

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