India. Parents give their daughters to creditors because they do not have the money to pay off the debt
Girls and young women in the state of Rajasthan, India, are given back to creditors as part of a loan that their parents took out when they have no money. The Indian National Human Rights Commission informed about the practice. The police are investigating this matter.
In the state of Rajasthan, parents are to give their daughters to their lenders when they do not have the money to pay off their loan. The Indian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has notified the state government of the case, demanding a police investigation.
The village council orders the debtor to hand over his daughter
British “The Guardian” writes about the case. As noted, v India many families, especially those in rural areas, have to borrow money from other villagers. Especially in the case of illness and the need to pay for treatment.
According to the local media, where the Guardian cites reports, when families were unable to return the money, the people they borrowed from filed complaints with the panchayat, the village council. The latter ordered that girls or young women be returned to creditors as part of a settlement. So the families donated their daughters – one or more, depending on the amount of credit taken – so that the creditor could sell them to the dealer and get his money back. According to the NHRC, if a family refuses to sell their daughters, their mothers are subjected to rape on behalf of the Panchayat to resolve the dispute.
One of such situations, described by the NHRC, was supposed to occur when a man borrowed about 1.5 million Indian rupees (over PLN 86,000) from a neighbor. He was unable to repay this amount, so the Panchayat forced him to sell his sister and 12-year-old daughter to settle the debt. A similar situation happened when another man borrowed 600,000. rupees (about PLN 34.5 thousand), for treatment of a seriously ill wife in a hospital. As part of the debt repayment, he was forced to hand over his young daughter to a creditor, who then sold her to a trader in the city of Agra. According to the NHRC, the girl was sold three more times since then, and became pregnant four times.
The Panchayats expand their powers
The Panchayats, or village councils, are also known to commission the so-called honor killings of couples who marry a representative of another caste or religion, and order brutal punishments for people suspected of adultery. Kavita Srivastava, who fights for women’s rights in Rajasthan, points out that the panchayats informally regulate the personal affairs of villagers, and this is a well-known phenomenon. Opposition to their orders means ostracism on the part of the community. – It seems, however, that (the panchayats – ed.) Have extended their scope of activities to settle credit disputes in this way – says Srivastava.
Ashish Modi, a representative of the Bhilwara District in Rajasthan, emphasizes that the practice of giving away daughters to pay off a loan is a novelty that is “completely illegal”. – The police are investigating. We will be checking whether the victims have obtained justice and that the guilty ones have been punished – he says.
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