WB BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury arrested in child trafficking ring
BJP women's wing leader Juhi Chowdhury was arrested from Batasia, close to Indo-Nepal border in West Bengal, for her alleged involvement in a child trafficking case. Chowdhury and three others arrested allegedly sold at least 17 children from the Jalpaiguri NGO Bimala Sishu Griho, across India and abroad at high prices, while claiming they were being given to needy couples for adoption.
What is the case all about?
A massive newborn trafficking racket was unearthed in Baduria, in North-24 Parganas, in November last year, after locals alerted officials of suspicious activity. Since then, CID has been on the alert for similar activities across different districts. Sleuths were keeping a watch on the NGO since over two months, and reported illegal activities.
The involved: NGO workers, doctors and more
Sonali Mondal, Chief Adoption Officer at the NGO Bimala Sishu Griho, Chandana Chakraborty, Chairperson, and Manas Bhowmik, Chandana's brother, allegedly joined BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury in the racket. All three have been arrested by CID. Several doctors from various districts are under the scanner. They are believed to have altered relevant medical documents, like birth certificates, to facilitate the illegal operations.
Child trafficking in India
27% of the world's trafficking victims during 2007-2010 were children, who are mostly used for sex trade or child labour. As of 2011, India had 10.13mn child labourers aged 5-14, and 33mn working children aged 5-18. A child goes missing in India every eight minutes.
BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury and her involvement
Juhi Chowdhury joined the BJP as a member of the youth wing, and later became part of the Mahila Morcha, eventually becoming its general secretary. Juhi allegedly put the rescue home owner in touch with important BJP leaders. They helped her receive grants and aids. Her father Rabindranath Chowdhury, state committee member, had held meetings with top leaders during the probe into the case.
Juhi Chowdhury goes missing
Juhi Chowdhury went underground around February 18. Searches were launched for her in the state as well as the capital, which she visited frequently with the NGO's employees. After Chandana Mukherjee's arrest, she escaped, but kept the mobile phone on. She purportedly switched it off when she left the state. She was believed to have been hiding in a leader's house in Delhi.
West Bengal BJP removes Juhi Chowdhury following arrest
Following Juhi Chowdhury's arrest, WB BJP removed her as women's wing secretary. Her father Rabindranath Chowdhury, a state committee member, has also been removed. "If she is guilty, she should be punished. We aren't saying she is innocent," BJP Bengal president Dilip Ghosh said. Earlier, Chowdhury reportedly spoke to party leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Rupa Ganguly, who claim it is a conspiracy against her.