They were repeatedly raped by a brick-kiln owner in Karimnagar district of Telangana in 2014.
Two years on, the resolve of three rape victims from remote Odisha districts to take on their abuser has not diminished a bit.
Despite being offered a huge bribe by the rapist, who is out on bail, and pressure from labour agents and community leaders at his instance, they have refused to withdraw their case against him.
The victims — one from Bargarh district and two from Nuapada district — said they would not relax till their abuser was sent to jail.
They recently moved the Odisha State Legal Service Authority, urging it to help shift their case from a court in Karimnagar district to Odisha. They said they were unable to mobilise enough legal support for their court battle in Telangana.
The account of the victims, who had accompanied their parents to a brick-kiln at Choppadandi in Karimngar, is shocking. Then (in 2014) aged 16, 15 and 13, the three girls were helping their parents at the kiln.
In the first month, they worked hard unaware that they had attracted the unwanted attention of the owner, who has strong political links. “We were terrified to hear about the Malik [the owner] frequently misbehaving with women workers. One evening, the owner, in an inebriated condition, wanted me to accompany him. My parents resisted and fell at his feet asking him to show mercy. My parents were beaten up mercilessly and I was forcibly taken,” said the victim, now 17, from Nuapada. The girl was raped several times in March, 2014.
The other girl from Nuapada district was dragged away from her parents. She met a similar fate.
The girl from Bargarh was subjected to frequent sexual abuse and also forced to work as domestic help in her abuser’s house.
After their rescue in April 2014, they lodged a complaint with the local police. The brick-kiln owner was arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The girls went to Karimnagar to attend the first hearing of the case on April 11, 2016. “We want a fair trial,” the Bargarh girl told The Hindu.