Some stories are heart wrenching, yet motivational. Such is the story of Sabita Kal, a 29 year old lady of Thali Gram (Tea Garden), Shalgonga, Udharbond, Silchar. She had been living in the UJJAWALA shelter home for girls and women, at Panchayat Road, Cachar, Silchar, for a period of 1 year and 15 days.
Sabita Kal has allegedly been a victim of Sexual Abuse, and that too by her own father. The accused father has allegedly abused her thrice. The first two attempts by the accused were intended to get physical with Sabita but the third attempt went on to become an absolute rape, post which Sabita became pregnant. The accused father then took her to a hospital in Hailakandi and left her there. He eloped from the whole episode and that was when Sabita was rescued by the woman helpline and she was given a temporary shelter in a house. Later, she was shifted to UJJAWALA Shelter Home, Cachar, Silchar, for providing her with proper treatment and a permanent shelter. During that time, she was mentally ill, in a condition of trauma, and was suffering of malnutrition. The baby that she gave birth to, was handed over to an adoption centre where the baby eventually took the last few breaths.
The officials and the residents in the UJJAWALA Shelter Home, provided a homely atmosphere to Sabita, who eventually opened up before all of them, to express the deep melancholy, she was going through. As a result, she could go through a course of proper counselling. In addition to that, she was assigned a number of vocational activities which led to a stage in the woman’s mind, where she started feeling emopwered and brave.
Prior to the imposition of the lockdown, the officials of Barak Valley Welfare Development Society arranged a meeting with the District Administration of Cachar, in the official chamber of ADC (Social Welfare), along with several other clubs and NGOs, and media persons. The meeting was intended towards sending Sabita back to her home where her own family stays. According to the decisions, made during the meeting, UJJAWALA started operating. The group did the home verification and met with the family members, along with residents of the village, Thali Gram (Tea Garden) to discuss about the matter mentioned above. The conclusion of the operation was that her brother desires to take back his sister, but the villagers exhibit strong objections.
Further, several meetings were conducted with the Garden Manager of Thali Gram, Udharbond; the VDP, secretary of Gudamghat (Thali Gram) and the Gaon Panchayat to discuss about this vital issue. The meeting with the Gaon Panchayat set a milestone. The team of UJJAWALA, along with the local police, attended that meeting. Sabita’s brother, Amit Kal, along with the villagers were present in the discussion. Her brother had the statement that if the villagers accept Sabita, he will accept her too. The villagers were strongly against accepting Sabita and were arguing with the officials in this regard. The Project Director of UJJAWALA, Miss Puja Das, then stood up, to explain the villagers that Sabita, the victim shouldn’t be criticised or made socially secluded, rather her father, who allegedly commited the crime must be criticised and punished. Eventually, the villagers agreed to accept Sabita and her brother received her in front of 3 official witnesses, namely ZPC, Dhananjoy Teli; Bagan Panchayat, Montush Urang and VDP Secretary, Alok Roy.
The District Administration of Cachar and the Cachar Police (Udharbond), assured the villagers that the accused father will be arrested after a proper FIR is lodged with the Police Department.
The officials of the NGO, who were present in the meeting were Gaurav Chanda, Executive Director, BVWDS; Puja Das, Project Director, UJJAWALA; Mowsumi Choudhury and Sudipta Das Gupta, Social Workers, UJJAWALA and Dilawar Khan, member of BVWDS.