SAMBALPUR: In a new turn of events, the two minor girls, who were allegedly sold by their father to a woman in Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday said they were neither minor nor were they sold. They claimed to be leading a happy married life.
A four-member team of Sambalpur police, which had left in search of the two girls, Anjali and Jyoti, on Sunday, traced them in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh and brought them to the city along with their ‘husbands’ on Tuesday. The father of the girls, Manbhula Naik, accompanied the team.
The girls’ elder sister Pushpa Saha and brother Sanatan Naik had filed a complaint against their parents at Sambalpur Town police station on June 27. They alleged in the complaint that Jyoti Naik (13) and Anjali Naik (14) were sold by their father Manbhula (45) and mother Prabhasini (40) to an unknown woman for `20,000 in Pathria of Madhya Pradesh on June 1. The complaint was countersigned by their aunt Hemlata Sani. Police had detained Manbhula and Prabhasini for questioning.
Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, Additional SP, Sambalpur, Sushil Kumar Panigrahi said while Jyoti was traced in Pipargiachouda under Bonda police limits, Anjali was found at Suakar under Gadabuta police limits, both in Sagar district. While Jyoti was found married to Tikaram Lodi (23), Anjali’s husband was Manoj Dubey (30).
Jyoti, who was married on June 12 claimed to be of 19 years while Anjali who was married on May 11 said she was 20 years old. The girls denied that they were minors or were sold, said Panigrahi. Both Tikaram and Manoj have also been brought to Sambalpur and the age of the girls will be verified, the ASP added.
The girls will be produced before the District Child Protection Officer and the Judicial Magistrate to record their statements. The police will act as per the direction of the court.
Meanwhile, police have an uphill task at hand. Even if they ascertain that the girls are minors, the couples might go scot free as neither of the girls has complained of being forced into marriage or tortured.
Manbhula, a labourer and his wife Prabhasini, have three daughters and two sons. Sanatan manages the family by doing odd jobs. Manbhula had allegedly sold Jyoti and Anjali to meet his alcohol habit.