A minor girl, studying in Class 9, went missing in the morning after she left for school. The police deployed several teams to locate her.
Late evening, the girl was found from a drainpipe in a field. It had been more than nine hours by then.
It turned out that she had been brainwashed into agreeing to elope with a man she was in a relationship with, but dropped the plan at the last moment as she suspected her family had come to know about it.
Scared of a severe scolding from her parents, the girl, instead of returning home, hid herself in the drainpipe.
The incident took place in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district on 23 November 2022.
Baghpat Superitendent of Police Neeraj Kumar Jadaun told this correspondent that if the police had not found her in time, it might have proved fatal for the girl. It could get very cold and there was fear of wild animals roaming in the night, he said.
The girl is Hindu and belongs to a scheduled caste, while the man she was planning to elope with is Muslim, and is about ten years older than her.
The case comes at a time when the Aaftab-Shraddha case has already triggered widespread anger among the Hindu community over the pattern of men from Muslim community targeting Hindu women for relationships for conversion-nikah or sexual exploitation, often killing them if they resist.
The official Twitter account of Baghpat police posted a press note regarding the incident the same day.
The note says that the Singhawali Ahir police station in Baghpat received information about the missing girl, who is 15, around 10.30am. Teams of five police stations were deployed for her search, besides a dog squad and other units of the police force.
She was found around 6.30pm in an agricultural field.
Watch a statement by SP Jadaun here:
SP Jadaun said hat during questioning, it came to light that the girl had been brainwashed by a man named Sohail Ansari into eloping with him.
When she left for school, she was carrying a set of casual clothes with her.
She changed into those casual clothes after exiting the school in the morning, but she learnt that her family had come to know about her plan.
She did not go to the spot where she was scheduled to meet the man and, instead, went to the field to hide.
The officer said that Ansari has been booked and arrested for kidnapping and under charges while the girl is still being questioned. He is brother of a classmate of the girl.
On 24 November, the Baghpat police put out a press note informing about the arrest.
Sohail has booked under IPC section 363 as well as under Section 7/8 of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 3(2)5A of the Scheduled Castes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act (FIR number 306/2022 filed at Singhawali Ahir police station).
The team that rescued the girl was awarded Rs 25,000. Swarajya has learnt that the girl’s uncle (chacha) holds a post in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is helming the government in the state and centre.
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