Nirbhaya Fund: Gang-raped Bangladeshi woman awarded maximum compensation
She is a victim of an international human trafficking network (she was trafficked when she was a minor), sexual exploitation, and gang rape.
BENGALURU: In a first in the state, and perhaps the country, a foreigner who was gang-raped by her compatriots in India, was awarded maximum compensation under the Nirbhaya Fund by the trial court. The Bangladeshi woman (name withheld), aged 21, who was gang-raped by her compatriots in the city in May 2021, has found some justice in the court order.
She is a victim of an international human trafficking network (she was trafficked when she was a minor), sexual exploitation, and gang rape. She and another woman victim of human trafficking were repatriated to their country in May last year.
The City Civil and Sessions Court, in its May 2022 order, stated that “in view of the severity of the offense and finding by the court” the “victim lady is entitled to compensation of Rs 7,00,000 under NALSA’s (National Legal Services Authority) compensation scheme. The Government of Karnataka shall pay compensation of Rs 7,00,000 to the victim lady from ‘Compensation Scheme for Women Victims’ as provided under Section 357A CrPC (Amendment Act of 1973).” The section deals with compensation schemes for victims.
The court directed the District Legal Services Authority to award compensation immediately. The court took cognisance of the fact that the victim had left for Bangladesh and may not be secured for getting compensation, and requested DLSA “to secure the presence of the victim through video conference and...make e-payment to the account of the victim through the help of the complainant/police without securing her physical presence”.
‘Talaash Association’, a city-based non-profit, human rights organisation is “facilitating the compensation to the victim”, founder president, Talaash Association, Seema Diwan told TNIE. “Talaash had assisted the police to repatriate the victim, helped establish the nationality of the 12 accused -- all Bangladeshis -- and is now facilitating the victim to get compensation under the Nirbhaya Fund,” she added. Between 2014 and 2019, Talaash helped police repatriate 300 illegal Bangladeshis from Bengaluru city, Bengaluru rural, Belagavi and Vijayapura districts to their country, said Diwan.
The gang-rape survivor spoke to TNIE over phone, and said she is trying to rebuild her life in her village Kishoregunj in Bangladesh, after the trauma she underwent of being dumped by her husband. “I was financially and emotionally very weak. I was promised a job in a beauty parlour in Bengaluru for a monthly salary of Rs 40,000 by my friend Riya, instead, I was forced into the sex trade there by people known to me. Riya had assured me that people would help me cross the India-Bangladesh border. I crossed the border at night on payment of 10,000 Takas. On reaching Kolkata, a man received us and handed me an Aadhaar card with my photograph, and name as Nadia from Dhantola (West Bengal), a SIM and my flight ticket to Bengaluru,” she said.
She was gang-raped by her compatriots in a rented flat in Ramamurthy Nagar in May 2021 after she “helped some trafficked Bangladeshi women escape from the network of the accused”, according to the survivor. Police arrested the 12 accused and filed the chargesheet in July of the same year. The case was investigated and the accused were charge-sheeted by the National Investigation Agency for illegal entry into India, human trafficking, forgery, using forged documents to obtain Indian identity cards such as Aadhaar card, PAN cards for themselves and their victims, and criminal conspiracy, among other charges.