Indian lawmaker arrested for raping minor girl

Indian lawmaker arrested for raping minor girl


NEW DELHI: Indian police have arrested a lawmaker from northeastern Meghalaya state on charges of raping a 14-year-old trafficked girl, an officer said on Saturday.

Julius Dorphang, a militant commander turned legislator, was arrested in neighbouring Guwahati city late Friday after evading police for several days.

"He was arrested last night and has been charged with raping a minor girl and human trafficking," Vivek Syiem, a police officer in Meghalaya's capital Shillong, told AFP.

The victim has accused the 51-year-old politician of sexually assaulting her twice in December after she was sold to him by traffickers.

The girl told police she was kept at a guesthouse and has accused seven other people, including a guesthouse employee, of trafficking and selling her to the legislator.

The guesthouse is owned by a state minister's son, according to Syiem.

Dorphang founded a militant group in Meghalaya in 2000 seeking greater rights for two tribal groups, before laying down arms in 2007 and entering politics. Meghalaya is one of seven northeastern states mired in decades of armed insurgencies ranging from tribal disputes to separation from India. Traffickers in India lure thousands of vulnerable children from impoverished families on false promises of jobs before selling them off to prostitution rings and domestic or commercial establishments. 

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