Rescued girls arrive home, Govt flayed
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, October 11 2008: The five girls hailing from the Zeliangrong community who were trafficked to Singapore and then to Malaysia returned to Manipur after about six month on Saturday afternoon amidst tearful reception by the family members and well wishers.

The girls were first brought to Chennai in Tamil Nadu and then to Kolkata, West Bengal on Friday and then to Manipur on Saturday.

Talking to media persons later in the evening at Langol Tarung RBN Multipurpose hall, the five girls recounted nightmarish experience to survive in Singapore and Malaysia over the last six months or so.

Narrating the incident, the girls informed that they were promised a contract of 400 Singapore dollars a month as their pay.

However, on reaching the spot they were put up at the work place 24 hours a day with just two pieces of bread and water a day as their food.

The agent Mr.Ricky even attempted to sexually assault them, they added.

The girls also disclosed there were a lot of Indian girls victimised by the agency.

However, the Meitei and the Tangkhul women were the most demanded, the girls informed adding that Ricky orders them in a high number in Singapore .

They also informed that while two of them had to worked as waitresses the remaining three of them had to work as maids and that they were shuffled from hotel to hotel.

They had lost hope until they managed to escape, narrated the girls while informing that a Meitei girl who could not escape was left behind.

With their arrival, criticisms have poured in against the Indian government in general and the Manipur government in particular for their failure to send women delegates to escort them back home.

While the North East Helpline, New Delhi accused the state government of step-motherly treat for not sending delegates, the team of NGOs that had gone to pick up the girls have accused the deputy resident commissioner of Manipur Bhavan, Kolkata for not welcoming the five girls when they were brought and put up at the Bhavan.

The New Delhi-based North East Support Centre & Helpline took grim note of the neither the Centre nor the State provided women officials to accompany the five victims of human trafficking on their arrival at Chennai and Kolkata from Kuala Lumpur.

After a month long struggle of lobbying with the Indian and Malaysian Government Officials, the five reached Imphal this afternoon.

Woe upon trauma suffering was added to the victims, when they did not find any women companion from at their arrival at Chennai airport and onward to Kolkata yesterday, the Helpline fumed in a statement. On their arrival, they were taken to Kolkata Manipur Bhavan for night stay without any women companion.

Dr.Alana Golmei, a social worker from New Delhi along with two women from the same community and a man, who is also one of the victims' brothers, went to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport to receive them.

"We were not allowed to meet the girls at airport and later refused to enter Manipur Bhavan campus," the Helpline's spokesperson Madhu Chandra quoted Dr.Alana as saying.

Later, NE Helpline attempted to talk to Dr.M K Singh, the Resident Commissioner of Manipur Bhavan, Kolkata this morning, but the official declined.

Madhu Chandra also said, "The failure of Manipur Government to arrange lady official to accompany the victims at their arrival at Kolkata, is step motherly treatment." "Was it because these girls belong to tribal communities?" quipped Chandra.

He also blamed Indian foreign Ministry for not arranging women official to accompany the victims from Chennai to Kolkata.

"Arranging a male official to accompany the girls added more trauma to the suffering," observed Chandra.