A month after 16-year old Phoolmani Nagesiya working as a domestic help in a restaurant owner’s house was found dead in her employer’s house, police in Ghaziabad and Lohardaga, where her family lives, have refused to register a First Information Report (FIR).
Officials of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in New Delhi who had initiated a probe into Phoolmani’s death said the police had refused to follow any norms. “The Ghaziabad police did not register a FIR after Phoolmani was found dead, neither did they inform or get the family’s consent before cremating the girl even. The police had noted her age as 18 but her school leaving certificate which we got from Lohardaga says her date of birth is April 1997. This is a case of trafficking and a case of contempt of court by the police,” said a NCPCR member referring to the Supreme Court order in January that all reports of all missing children be noted as FIR. Earlier this week, the Union Home Ministry had ordered all state governments to comply strictly with this SC order.
Phoolmani Nagesiya, an adivasi girl, had left her home in Pesrar village in Jharkhand’s Lohardaga district in 2012 without her family’s knowledge. Her mother Lalmani Nagesiya had alleged after her death that her daughter had been trafficked by Satya alias Batti Oraon.
Phoolmani Nagesiya had been placed at the house of restaurateur Anil Ahuja in Indrapuram in Kaushambi near Delhi to work as a domestic help. She was found dead in her employer’s house on June 19. “The employer says she was found hanging in their house and they found her in that condition at 8 pm. When the police arrived at 3 am, the police did not do any documentation or took any photos. The autopsy was done next morning and they did not check any sign of rape or an attack and the girl was cremated on the same evening,” said Rishikant of NGO Shaktivahini who informed the NCPCR of Phoolmani’s death 10 days later when they found out.
Phoolmani’s mother Lalmani Nagesiya said she had met the Lohardaga police officials to register a FIR earlier this month but they too refused. “The Ghaziabad police have noted this as a case of unnatural death. One case cannot be registered in two places,” said Lohardaga’s Superintendent of Police Sunil Bhaskar.
Responding to PIL filed by social activist Gopinath Ghosh for rehabilitation of two minor adivasi girls who had returned to Khunti district after contracting illnesses while working as house help in Delhi, on 18 July, Jharkhand High Court ordered the state government to take steps to check trafficking and to rehabilitate those who had returned after being trafficked from Jharkhand.