The Meghalaya State Commission for Women conducted an independent inquiry into the alleged torture, abduction and confinement of the twelve girls accused of sex racket by the members of A.M.A., C.S.W.O., and G.H.S.H.R. at Daldagre, West Garo Hills from 20 May to 21 June 2014. The Meghalaya State Commission for Women Inquiry Committee was constituted on the 12th of May to conduct an inquiry into the above matter. The inquiry started on the 20th of May 2014 where the Chairperson met with Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendant of Police, West Garo Hills for first hand information. The Commission met the twelve victims on the 21st of May at the designated Shelter Home (S.M.E.L.C.) and took their statement individually. Throughout the inquiry, the Commission took statements from 44 witnesses. The findings and suggestions of the MSCW Inquiry Committee were submitted to the Honourable Home Minister & Principal Secretary, Social Welfare, Government of Meghalaya. The Commission recommendation had been duely and promptly taken up by the Government in the Home Department as reported by the Assistant Inspector General of Police(E), Meghalaya, Shillong.
Suggestions Of The M.S.C.W. Inquiry Committee
- Medical concerns: Lady Doctors should examine women victims and they are not to be examined in any case by a male doctor as male doctors cannot examine the girl victims thoroughly. There should be sufficient number of female doctors on night-duty in all hospitals as many cases and crimes involving women usually occur at night.
- Raids: the District Administration - D.C., S.P., etc., should be more vigilant about different NGOs and not just listen to them at face value. The S.P., D.C., S.I. all seemed to be very gullible in this case, had there been proper coordination between all the concerned authorities, this could have been averted.
- Church Leaders: Pastors and religious leaders should be more aware and careful as they go about their work counseling, preaching, etc. Sensitization and awareness in these matters is urgently needed. All should verify the credibility of any NGO.
- In such matters when sex workers are caught, the authority concerned should make it a point, for the well being and health of such victims, that HIV tests should be conducted as mandatory and that they are to be sensitively handled.
- There is a lot of ignorance about legal provisions/matters all around. Sincere efforts will have to be made to create awareness in the churches, medical profession, administration, police, all educational institutions and society in general. Workshops, seminars, hoardings, etc should all be intensified to spread awareness. The need of the hour is a close cooperation and coordination urgently required to be taken seriously amongst the district administration/authorities/civil societies and the general public at large to avoid the occurrence of such incidents in the future.
- The government has to immediately set up a shelter home on rent, to avoid vested interests taking advantage of the lack of a shelter home in the district, even while it proceeds to construct a permanent shelter home of its own, in due course.
- There should be more street lights and patrolling for the safety and security of the citizens in the urban and rural areas as well, to avoid the occurrence of undesirable incidents, especially for the women and children.
- Counseling centers, especially for adolescent youth are urgently needed.
- The prisons in the whole state, with special reference to Garo Hills have been neglected, therefore it is urged that the government should seriously take up means and measures to strengthen the conditions in the jail, with regard to security concerns and medical facilities.