Forbesgunge, Araria, Bihar, 2nd June :
Anti-trafficking activist and Apne Aap Women Worldwide staff member, Sri Mohammed Kalam, was arrested in Forbesgunge yesterday without proper investigation on fabricated charges of trafficking. Apne Aap was dismayed and outraged to find that the arrest was made without proper inquiry and that he was not produced in court 24 hours after his arrest. Instead, disturbingly the superintendent of police, Araria, threw Apne Aap staff members out of his office and lower police officials have paraded Md Kalam to the media with ropes tied around his wrist. Apne Aap Women Worldwide Founder President, Ruchira Gupta has written to the Home Minister of India and to the Chief Minister of Bihar and the Chief Justice of India demanding the immediate release of Sri Md Kalam, dropping of all charges against him and action against those police officials who have arbitrarily arrested Sri Md Kalam without proper investigation. “We believe that Md Kalam is being penalized because he is a fiery activist against trafficking and is from a Minority religion and from the OBC, Nat community. His arrest exposes the collusion between the police and traffickers and the urgent need for police reform,” she said.Md Kalam, has been instrumental in putting traffickers in jail, rescuing girls from the brothels of Rampur and Khawaspur in Araria and Katihar. He is a Project Officer with Apne Aap and holds a LLb. Degree. He was named the Activist of the Year by The Week magazine and has been nominated for the US International Visitors Programme. His life story will be released in a Norwegian book, Town of Love, on Monday. He is married to a social worker and has a one-year old daughter.
Apne Aap is urgently calling for police reform so that law enforcement officials prosecute the buyers and sellers of sex, not the women who are victims of the trafficking and the activists working to stop the exploitation.
Apne Aap Women Worldwide is a grassroots Indian organization working to empower girls and women to resist and end sex trafficking. Since 2002, we have formed 150 self-empowerment groups in brothels, red light districts, slums and villages in Bihar, West Bengal, Delhi and Maharashtra. We have found a community- centered solution that transforms the most marginalized girls and women into leaders. Just last fortnight US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, met with Apne Aap’s victims and survivors and joined Apne Aap’s campaign, Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex, by putting on a wrist band gifted by an Apne Aap activist.