Indians fight trafficking slur in Nepal

November 22nd, 2010 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Nov 22 (IANS) Two Indians are fighting a trafficking slur in Nepal, telling a court of appeals that they were wrongfully arrested and imprisoned on the charge of trying to send nearly two dozen Nepali girls to India for sex slavery and labour exploitation.

Harish Bhagwan Suryavanshi and Jasbir Singh Gill have filed an appeal in the Patan appellate court in Kathmandu valley, saying they were wrongly arrested by police on the charge of trafficking in women when they had been lawfully recruiting staff for a casino in Goa and had the required documents to prove their claim.

According to documents placed in the court, Gill, a marketing officer at Lucky, a new casino operating from the premises of The O, a luxury hotel in Goa that is part of a chain of five-star hotels in Pune and Goa, had come to Kathmandu last month to recruit staff for the new casino.

He interviewed and selected 14 girls but the day the group was to leave for India via the Sunauli border, police arrived at Gill’s hotel in Kathmandu and arrested him.

Police say the arrest was made on the basis of a complaint by the relative of one of the girls.

When three girls in the group - Pratikshya Pokhrel, Uma Giri Chand and Sharmila Pandey - tried to defend Gill, they too were slapped with trafficking charges and sent to prison.

Soon after Gill’s arrest, the Goa casino sent its human resources manager, Suryavanshi, with the relevant documents to prove to police that it was a case of bona fide job recruitment.

Suryavanshi also sought the help of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, showing them the documents to prove his credentials.

However, he too was arrested and charged with the same offence.

Soon after the double arrest, the Kathmandu district court ordered the two men to be kept in prison till police completed investigations and the trial came to an end.

Most foreigners accused of crimes in Nepal face obligatory imprisonment even when their alleged offences are bailable to prevent the possibility of them escaping from Nepal.

The two men have challenged the court order, filing an appeal in the Patan Court.

Sources said the police action was the downside of the recent bid by the new police superintendent of Kathmandu to clean up the capital.

Under Ramesh Kharel, police have begun raiding the capital’s casinos, night clubs and massage parlours, regarded as a front for prostitution.

However, the crackdown has at times been netting the wrong people.

Recently, police arrested three Indians during a raid in Thamel, Nepal’s tourist hub.

However, the men, working mostly as labourers, said they were standing at a shop in the neighbourhood when they were summarily marched off.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at

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