Even Uzbek women are not safe in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar

Tricked by human traffickers, three Uzbek women are languishing in a detention centre in Bihar – allegedly without access to basic facilities

PATNA | Updated: 12 June, 2023 3:57 pm IST
Gutsy Uzbek woman fighting for the release of her three sisters from a Bihar detention centre.

PATNA: Trapped by human traffickers and entangled in bureaucratic red tape, three Uzbek sisters have been languishing in a detention center in Bihar for nearly two years, despite a court order for their release. And their elder sister is running from pillar to post but to no avail.

The sisters were apprehended by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on the India-Nepal border in Araria while being smuggled from Nepal for illegal activities in Bihar on October 27, 2021.

In August of last year, a lower court in Araria declared them “innocent” and ordered their deportation to Uzbekistan. However, bureaucratic hurdles and jurisdictional complexities have continuously prolonged their captivity.

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To exacerbate the situation, they have allegedly faced assault and been denied proper communication with their family and access to basic human facilities at the Bihar Institute of Correctional Administration (BICA) in Hajipur.

Their elder sister has been diligently navigating the intricate legal and bureaucratic systems, encountering numerous obstacles in her pursuit of justice. For over a year, she has been shuttling between courts, police stations, and the detention center in her quest for justice.

“My mother is in deep pain. My entire family is distressed. Please send my sisters back to our home,” she pleaded before the media cameras on Sunday.

The woman, who frequently travels from her home approximately 3,000 km away to Patna, revealed that their harrowing tale began when they made a fateful connection with an Indian man on Facebook and decided to move to India for a better life.

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Expressing concerns about their well-being, she reported witnessing wounds on their hands. “One of them even recently attempted suicide,” said Hemant Sharma, an anti-human trafficking activist who has been assisting the elder sister in her pursuit of justice.

“More importantly, the director of BICA, Neeraj Jha, does not allow these girls to communicate with their family members. It raises doubts about their safety and whether they are being treated properly… Why are these girls being kept here despite the court order? Why is government money being wasted on them?” he questioned.

The sister, whose identity is being withheld for security reasons, also expressed frustration with the convoluted process as she shuttles between the detention center and the police station. These challenges have impeded her ability to meet her sisters or engage in meaningful communication with them.


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