Delhi Underbelly: Basic Instinct

The underworld of THE INDIAN CAPITAL is like a schizophrenic, super rich city trapped in crime

Sadiq Naqvi Delhi

She was lying on the hospital bed, writhing in pain, in a dingy, dirty clinic run by a retired colonel in the upmarket Saket neighbourhood of South Delhi. Rani (name changed),18,  a tribal girl from Gumla, Jharkhand, had gone through a painful procedure to remove the remnants of the foetus, which the lady doctor in neighbouring Madangir had apparently forgotten during the hurried abortion  performed the previous night. Rajkumar, who runs the placement agency, through which Rani was employed, brought her to the lady doctor. She had returned from her employer’s house in Faridabad, complaining of something unusual in her menstrual cycle. Rajkumar left her at the clinic and fled, saying he would come back with money for her treatment. He never did.

The next morning, one of the nurses at the lady doctor’s clinic discreetly informed Shakti Vahini, the NGO, which has been working for many years among destitute and trafficked children and women in Delhi. Aware that the ‘case’ would go to the police, the doctor quietly took her to the colonel’s Saket clinic instead of a government hospital as is the rule. The lady doctor’s conduct has been far from exemplary. Questioned, her versions are loaded with contradictions. Why did she do a botched-up operation hurriedly? Why did she agree to do it in the first place? Is it because of a repetitive pattern of making money from dubious sources?

“The doctor gave me the pills,” Rani told this reporter, debunking the lady doctor’s theory that it was Rajkumar who gave her the abortion pills before bringing her to the clinic.

The ‘colonel’, the male doctor at the Saket clinic (which he runs with his wife) was even more crude, prejudiced and insensitive. “It must have been consensual. Don’t believe this girl. Her vagina shows that she is habituated to sex,” he said publicly. “I do so many such abortions every day; even mothers bring their pregnant, unmarried daughters.” 

“Witness the condition of this clinic. These doctors seem to be performing only illegal abortions,” a senior police officer from the Malviya Nagar police station told this reporter. “Even that Madangir clinic appears to be a hub for female foeticide. This doctor must be hand-in-glove with the placement agency.”

“Look at the audacity of this doctor. He simply doesn’t care as to what kind of circumstances force these girls to come to Delhi,” said an activist.

Rani spoke haltingly: “Rajesh, who runs a placement agency in Aali village near Badarpur, sends his wife to Jharkhand to get girls who are willing to come to Delhi.” She quietly asked the NGO activists to fetch her some clothes. The next bed had a woman in labour with several relatives present at the hospital, praying for her well-being. Minutes later, a nurse rushed out of the delivery room with a newly born boy. And universal happiness took over all the relatives, the clinic full of sounds of joy and euphoria that still surrounds the birth of a male child in India.

“See the stark difference. This girl doesn’t even have her mother to whom she can narrate her ordeal. She has not even spoken to her family in Gumla for  many months,” said Rishikant, the director of Shakti Vahini. 

“It was the wife of Rajesh (Raj Kumar's partner) who lured me to her house. In the dark of the night she put me on a train to Delhi,” said Rani. She said that Rajesh forced himself upon her in Aali village near Badarpur in Haryana, bordering Delhi, when all the other girls had gone to sleep. She did not report it to anyone. So overpowering was her fear that she did not even raise an alarm. She was later sent to a house to work. “They are easy prey for these men even though they are supposed to be their guardians in this alien city,” says Rishikant. “These placement agencies need to be banned. They are the ones abetting crimes of this nature,” added a police officer at the Malviya Nagar police station.

“I will file a police complaint against Rajesh. He not only raped me but also never gave me any money even though I worked so hard for so many months,” said Rani. 

Earlier, the heart-rending story of Baby Falak shocked the nation. Equally shocking was the brutalisation of Falak's 13-year-old mother who was trafficked and gang raped over months in Delhi. Recent reports pointed out hotels in South Delhi where women are trafficked and raped for months by all kinds of men.

In March, a 14-year-old child who was working at the house of a doctor in Delhi was rescued after the neighbours heard her crying and informed the police. She had been literally imprisoned, locked up in the house without food for days, whiile the young doctor and his wife holidayed in Thailand. She was kept hungry, beaten, tortured, abused, made to work endless hours and forced to sleep on the ground. Not only Delhi, the inner life of our urban, upwardly mobile societies is flooded with many such horror stories of domestic helps being brutalised behind closed doors. Like the recent case in Jamia Nagar where a domestic help was raped for four months, allegedly by the son of the family.  

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: MAY 2012