While Mumbai seethes in rage following the gangrape of a 22-year-old girl right in the heart of the city, not very far away, the mother of a 13-year-old girl who had just attained puberty was planning to sell her daughter's 'virginity' to the highest bidder.
The shocking piece of news on Mumbai Mirror brings to fore how the city's underbelly continues to be a hellhole for its own girls no matter how many people take to the streets protesting sexual assault.
Mumbai Mirror reports that one Farida Sheikh, a resident of Mumbra, put a price of Rs 3 lakh on her daughter's virginity. A social worker stumbled upon the horrific incident when an auto driver, who seemingly also works a pimp, informed him that he knew of a young girl whose mother was willing to sell her for Rs 3 lakh.
The social worker, who had hailed the auto in Mumbra, changed his mind about chastising the driver and instead decided to unearth the nexus. He kept in touch with the auto driver who told him that the girl had recently attained puberty and the customer who will 'buy' her was free to do 'anything' he wanted with her.
The social worker alerted the police who laid a trap to arrest the mother. After arrest, police said that the girl was the eldest of the five children in the family. He father owned a small workshop in Andheri.
Preying on young 'virgins' has been a longstanding obsession in India and in certain cases, such practices are even institutionalised.
A Wall Street Journal report from earlier this year pointed out how, under the 'traditions' of devdasis, young girls are auctioned to the highest bidders in Koppal, Karnataka.
The article traced how on attaining puberty, girls in the community of devdasis are bathed ritualistically and kept in confinement for 11 days. Following this the girl is sold off to whoever places the highest bid for her. Girls as young as 11 or 12 years of age are auctioned.
The article notes that though the social arrangement between devdasis and their customers was banned way back in 1982, it continues to thrive in various parts of Karnataka as it receives patronage and support from several quarters of the society.
What remains to be seen is given the large number of cases of child prostitution in India, if the government will take firm action against women like Sheikh to deter others in the future.
Read the complete story on Mumbai Mirror here.
Updated Date: Aug 26, 2013 11:29 AM