Guwahati: Decades of violent insurgency in Assam have forced many women, including homemakers, to take to prostitution after their husbands or close family members were killed or maimed in terror attacks. The busting of a sex racket here bears testimony to this.
During her questioning by city police, Pinky, 25, a divorcee, told police she was forced into prostitution to make both ends meet.
"She did it under compulsion and her story is indeed tragic...a victim of terror attack and forced into prostitution," a senior police official said.
Pinky`s former husband Aten Timung, 31, a daily wage earner and father of a three-year-old child, was critically injured in the serial bombings that rocked Assam Oct 30, 2008.
Timung was at the Ganeshguri market in the heart of Assam`s main city of Guwahati when one of the nine near- simultaneous explosions spread across the state went off, killing more than 100 people and injuring over 800.
The explosion not only crippled Timung for life but also broke his family with his young wife being forced into prostitution after their divorce.
Police busted the sex racket earlier this week and picked up two women from a rented accommodation, one of whom was identified as Pinky. She told police interrogators that Timung divorced her last year as he was unable to feed the family.
"Pinky took shelter in her mother`s home in Guwahati and looked for a job to make ends meet," the police official said.
But very soon, her plight was exploited by unscrupulous people around her - a woman acquaintance promised her financial help of Rs 10,000 and instead forced her into prostitution.
After her arrest, she was kept at a women`s shelter home run by the Global Organization for Life Development (GOLD), an NGO in Guwahati, before she was handed back to her mother with some counselling.
"It is sad that women hit by terror attacks are exploited very cruelly with some of them forced into nasty things like prostitution. There could be many more such stories that have not come out," Manumati Barman, a GOLD coordinator, told a news agency.
"Insurgency is the root cause of many social evils...thousands of families have been shattered, children orphaned, women widowed, and some of them forced to beg for making ends meet," Barman said.
Pinky`s case is definitely not an isolated one and some feel a thorough study would unravel more such disturbing facts.
"There are instances of women victims of insurgency begging on the streets for a living, some cases of young mothers who lost their husbands to militant bullets remarrying and then again being divorced," said Arunima Das, a reasearcher who has looked at the impact of insurgency on women and children in Assam.
"The list of women suffering due to insurgency is long and shocking. There is a need for a more comprehensive study on the sufferings of women hit by insurgency."
More than 20,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam during the past two decades, while thousands have been maimed for life in terror attacks.