Two of the accused are distant relatives of the victim, say police
The brutal assault on a young woman from Bangladesh has exposed a flesh trade racket not just in Bengaluru but in neighbouring Telangana and Kerala as well.
The victim, who is in her 20s, knew the perpetrators, said the police. Two of the accused were her distant relatives as well, investigations have now revealed. “The culprits brutalised the victim over financial differences,” according to a statement from the city police.
The girl, hailing from Moghbazar in Dhaka, Bangladesh, had lost contact with her family two years ago when she was planning to go to Saudi Arabia. “We don’t know whether she went to Saudi Arabia, but she now resides somewhere in India,” said Md. Shahidullah, DCP, Dhaka Metropolitan Police at a press conference on Thursday.
The Bengaluru Police, who tracked down and rescued the girl from Kozhikode in Kerala, confirmed that she went to Dubai in the UAE where she was pushed into the flesh trade and also worked as a bar dancer for nearly a year. She shifted to India a few months ago at the behest of her distant relative Mohammed Baba Sheikh, who was running a prostitution ring in the city. Sheikh is married to a distant relative of the victim. His wife is also an accused and under arrest.
Sheikh and his associates allegedly trafficked women from Bangladesh promising them jobs in beauty saloons or as domestic helpers in India, and ran a prostitution ring in Karnataka, Telangana and Kerala. The victim joined this group, but had a bitter fallout with them, sources said.
She allegedly parted ways with them and shifted to Kozhikode where she started a massage parlour. This was the source of the financial dispute between the accused and the victim.
“The woman was brought back to Bengaluru under the pretext of resolving the financial dispute. As she entered the house, the men got extremely violent, physically assaulted her, sexually abused and brutalised her, recording videos on their mobile phones, all the while egged on by the two women,” said a senior police official.
“Apart from the video that has gone viral, we have recovered two more videos from the mobile phones of the accused. They recorded the videos to blackmail her. They allegedly threatened to upload the clips on social media if she did not pay them. One such video was circulated, which led to the case coming to light,” said a senior police official.
The victim did not approach the police. She called her boyfriend, who rescued her from the house a day after the incident. The duo went back to Kozhikode, sources said. A day later, a few men, suspected to be hired by the victim’s boyfriend, allegedly beat up the four accused. They too did not approach the police.
The victim underwent a medical examination in Bengaluru on Friday night. The police are yet to question her, sources said.
The six accused have been remanded in 14 days’ police custody.
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