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Plight of the Northeastern 'Paro'

October 26, 2006 13:27 IST

Devdas' Paro may have been the cynosure of his eyes, but love and family are distant dreams for the 'Paros' of Haryana and Punjab.

Women, who are sold in marriages to people in Punjab and Haryana from the Northeast, are called 'Paros' there. Every village in these two states has a host of such 'Paros.'

Executive director of the Shakti Vahini Ravi Kant, participating in a National Media Consultation on Human Trafficking, HIV/AIDS and Drug Trafficking in Guwahati on Thursday said, "The girls mostly enter into forced marriages with grooms of the northern states and the villagers there are quiet vocal about them."

He said the growing demand for girls in the northern fringes due to declining sex ratio had led to the increasing trafficking of women from the Northeast. The sex ratio in North Eastern states was much better compared to other states, he added.

"The current child sex ratio in Punjab and Haryana is about 600. One can well imagine the scenario in 15 years time," he added.

The Northeast, with a vast unexposed and vulnerable population, is becoming the latest source to meet the demand. Ravi claimed that highly well organized networks functioned in the region that coordinated trafficking of girls.

"At times, the girls are sent with the consent of their families. However, more often than not, they are sexually exploited there," he added.

He cited the recent instance of a girl from Jharkhand who was killed by her in-laws who were pushing her into a relationship with her brothers-in-law. Underlining that inter-state marriages or migration could be stopped, he said a record of the girls going out should be maintained.

"There should be some network in place to keep track of the girls who are given in marriage or go in search of earning opportunities," he added.