woman in shadow
A 22-year-old girl in India has returned home after 10 years to narrate her horrific ordeal of abduction, multiple sale and repeated rapes - Representational image iStock

A girl, who went missing almost a decade ago, has returned home to the Indian capital, Delhi. But to the horror of her family, the 22-year-old revealed she was sold and raped multiple times over the past 10 years. The girl's mother has now vowed to get the culprits punished.

After doing several rounds of the local police station in the past week following her daughter's return, the mother said her complaint was finally heard on Tuesday (2 August), following which her daughter was taken for a medical examination.

The girl, who was abducted when she was just 12, told her family she was sold at least eight times to different people and was raped by more than 30 men over these years. The victim said a woman and a man kidnapped her from a locality in northeast Delhi and took her to Ambala in Haryana. She was then sold to a man for Rs 30,000 (£337, $448) and then again to another man for Rs 40,000. All these men, along with their friends and accomplices, raped her.

The mother said her daughter went missing in July 2006, but despite her frequent visits to the local police station, her complaint was registered much later in September that year. After five years of constant search, the family gave up thinking the girl had died.

The victim told the family that she had tried to escape her captors, but could not succeed. "In 2009, I was sold to a 50-year-old truck driver, who forced me to get married to him...," The Indian Express quoted the 22-year-old as saying. She added that her husband died two years later after which her life became more "miserable". Her in-laws threw her out of the house and she was left to starve. She tried to seek the help of the police, but her in-laws intervened and claimed she was mentally ill.

She somehow landed in Siliguri, a city in northeastern India, where a woman advised her to go back home. The girl said she was terrified to go back to Delhi, but the woman convinced her.

Deputy commissioner of police, (northeast), A K Singla, said: "We are reopening the case and have formed a special investigation team from our district... after recording the victim's statement, we will add more IPC sections to the case," the publication reported.

On the accusations of the mother about the police's delayed action in the case, the officer said he found out about the case only on Tuesday and was not aware of the mother's previous repeated visits.

This new case of sexual abuse has come to light when a series of rape cases in the past week in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have reignited the horror of the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, also referred to as the Nirbhaya case.