NEW DELHI: Anti Human Trafficking branch of Delhi Police has arrested five persons involved in selling women and young girls to men, suitors who tend to be above 50 years, in northern states, especially Haryana. The accused told police that they would abduct women from west Bengal and sell them at a price ranging from 50,000 to 1 lakh.

Joint Commissioner of Police R S Yadav said that the five arrested have been identified as Syed Ali alias Raju, Ram Bhavan, Rita, Ashok, and Pramod. Yadav identified Raju as the kingpin of the racket who came to Delhi 12 years back from Uttar Dinajpur district in West Bengal.

Raju had been arrested earlier as well from west Delhi’s Khyala under the charges of rape and human trafficking, but was released on bail.

Police rescued two women and two minor girls in the raid who allegedly had been sold in Haryana somewhere between 50,000 and 1 lakh. It has been reported that women would be employed in the field as farm hands and also double up as wives, akin to sex-slaves.

Yadav said that women, after having been brought to Delhi would be kept in Bhavan’s house, either in west Delhi’s Patel Nagar or in east Delhi’s Mandavali. The hunt for Bhavan’s wife is on, who too has been registered as one of the members in the racket.

The lid was blown off the trafficking business when a 24 year old ran away from her captor in Haryana and landed in Delhi. She then approached an NGO which, on her behalf, registered a complaint at the Chanakyapuri police station. “The woman told the police that her 17-year-old cousin too had been brought to Delhi with her and then sold off. Both of them had been allegedly abducted from near the Raiganj railway station in Uttar Dinajpur district, where they had gone to buy medicines from a store,” said Alok Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) to Indian Express. The woman told police that she was sold off at the price 80,000.

“During investigation, the police first arrested Bhavan on August 8, who led the police to Rita and Raju. Following their arrest, the police zeroed in on those to whom the women were allegedly sold in Rewari and Jhajjar districts of Haryana,” said Kumar. The investigation further led to more raids at Mahendragarh and Rohtak. All four districts where raids have been conducted have been known to have a skewed up sex-ratio.

Raju, the main engineer of the racket, informed police that they would change the name of the Muslim girls to Hindu ones before selling them.

“During questioning, Raju told the police that he targeted women from poor families and brought them to Delhi by promising them marriage. He would even pay money to their parents.” The police officer said.

Haryana is infamous for its skewed up sex-ratio and is quite exemplary in its patriarchal attitude towards women. Many of its districts have been included under the BJP government’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” scheme, which aims to rectify the lopsidedness in sex-ratio.