Bengal teen trauma: rape at night, gifts by day

New Delhi, Sept. 24: At night, he raped her. In daytime, the middle-aged man would smother the 13-year old with gifts. This went on for a month and a half till Seher (name changed) was rescued today from a shanty in Delhi, scared to go back to her home in Bengal but smiling as she played with the plastic spoons she had just used to have lunch. "This girl has no idea what he did to her body," said Subrata Panigrahi a social worker with Chetna Welfare Society, an NGO that played a part in the rescue.
Seher was a student of Class VII in a school in Kakdwip, South 24-Parganas when Ilias Ali her 51-year-old tormentor came to stay with her family. Ali now absconding had apparently quarreled with his in-laws who live in the same village as Sehers family.
The Delhi-based scrap dealer who has two more trafficking cases against him in Kakdwip, soon started working on the impressionable young girls, telling her he loved her. "He was nice to my parents and to me. He stayed for a month with us," Seher said, twirling a strand of her thick, jet-black hair."At night, he would come to me and say nice things like he loved me."
Social workers from Kakdwip who accompanied Seher's father to Delhi, say girls from the district, often from the poorest families are lured to the capital with the promise of marriage and a better life.
Seher dosen't think she was in with Ali, who could face imprisonment for life under the stringent Protection of children against Sexual Offences Act. "I came with him to Delhi because he thretened to harm my family," she said after her rescue.