A politician from the Indian state of Goa has been arrested for paying approximately $101,000 to buy a 16 year old girl from Nepal. He is alleged to have raped the minor at his Talegaon-based farmhouse in March.
It is understood the girl’s family is based in Goa and the victim used to work at a shop owned by the accused Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA).
Indian media have reported that it was the victim’s own stepmother who sold her to MLA Atanasio Monserrate for 5 million Indian rupees (Rs 50 lakh). The accused stepmother, who was also arrested last Thursday, took her to the farmhouse where they gave her a drink which police believe was “spiked”. The young girl apparently passed out after she “was made” to have the drink. The stepmother was helped by a lady the victim called ‘aunty’, a neighbour.
“The next morning I woke up without my clothes, covered in blood, he was sitting without his clothes on,” reports quoted the victim as saying to a “committee“. She returned home after few days at the firm where the accused was kind enough to ask if she wanted to go to school and study. She refused the offer and returned home only to be rebuked by her stepmother.
The woman told her daughter that she should go back to the farmhouse because she had already been sold to the MLA for five million Indian rupees.
So, she had no choice but to leave “home” and stay with her friends. On April 11, her stepmother spotted the girl with friends upon which she went to police to complain about her daughter’s waywardness. When police officers spoke to the teenager and her stepmother in presence of rights workers, the victim was furious with her stepmother and refused to go home. Therefore, she was sent to a child care facility. It was then that the full extent of the crime emerged as she began to open up to a counselor. Police have even recovered the clothes the victim was wearing when she was raped, around second week of March, which she claims to have hidden safe in a bag.
The girl is currently under the care of Apna Ghar, a Goa government child care facility but a government body has expressed fear about her security, presumably given her accusation against a powerful local politician.
Expressing its fear for the safety of the unidentified young woman, the State Child Rights Protection Commission has written to the child care facility and the Chief of Crime Branch Superintendent of Police in Panaji to ensure “two special guards” must be immediately deployed for the Nepalese girl’s protection.
Ironically and sadly, the accusation makes mockery of Mr Monserrate’s past ministerial portfolio. He was once the Education Minister of the state.
Times of India reported yesterday that Mr Monserrate has received preferential treatment in custody just as he would on any ordinary day of his VIP life – making calls, meeting friends and even a ‘bed sheet’ to lie on.
“The law in India apparently works differently for the privileged. St Cruz MLA Atanasio Monserrate alias Babush has not only been afforded the privilege of meeting friends and supporters, just as he would at work, while in police custody, he has even been allowed to make calls from his cellphone to some top BJP leaders to help him out in the case,” the report said.
But the BJP is understood to have told the accused that there can be no help for him in this particular matter.
Mr Monserrate was sacked from the Congress party when he began ‘hobnobbing’ with the ruling BJP following the last state polls.
His young son Rohit Monserrate was also accused of raping a minor German girl five years back.
In the mean time, the wife of the accused, Jennifer Monserrate has expressed her unequivocal support for her husband who she indicated is a victim of political vendetta. Mrs Monserrate, who is a sitting Congress MLA herself, told media that she was not only ‘100 percent sure’ that her husband could not engage in such heinous act but “1000 percent sure”.
Mr Monserrate has been charged with rape and human trafficking. He vehemently denies both, saying he has been ‘framed’.