M A I N   N E W S

Body exhumed. Another sex scandal?
Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 9
A probe into the mysterious death of a girl, who is said to be a victim of sex racket, has brought back the memories of infamous sex scandal in the valley. The police today exhumed the body of Aliya to determine the cause of her death amidst claims of an NGO, which had made the matter public before her suspicious death, that she was killed.

A senior police officer told The Tribune that it had registered a case against one woman, Sahiba, beside some unidentified persons under Immoral Trafficking Act, giving credence to impression that there was more to Aliya's death. Large number of people gathered as her body was exhumed and demanded a thorough probe into what could be another shameful story of trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls.

The police said, however, it was yet to determine the cause of her death and would wait for medical reports before making a conclusion.

What has fuelled rumours is that the victim died at her house during the intervening night of December 10 and 11, 2007, in Shoura, a peripheral locality of Srinagar, a day after she was reportedly taken to court by an NGO, Forum against Social Evils, for her statement. The police subsequently registered a case and arrested Sahiba, who has been projected as one of the exploiters by the NGO.

An office bearer of the forum, who did not wish to be identified, said the coincidence was too strong to be overlooked and a professional probe was a must as high-ups could be involved in the racket.

The NGO had earlier claimed that Sahiba and other persons used to send poor girls of the valley to places like Delhi and they would be sexually exploited there. "We managed to rescue Aliya and she said she had been victimised. Before she could expose her tormentors, she died mysteriously," he said. As the case started invited public glare, the police took the permission of district magistrate to exhume her body. The case bears striking resemblance with infamous sex scandal of 2006 when the statement of a minor girl about her exploitation by a number of government officials and politicians had rocked the country and sent a number of officers behind bar. The alleged kingpin in this case was Sabina. A CBI probe into this racket is still on after a High Court bench expressed its displeasure with the investigating agency for letting off some bigwigs lightly for what it claimed to be lack of evidence.



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