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11 Bonda tribal girls rescued, 1 held

Malkangiri: At least 11 girls belonging to Bonda tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group of Odisha, were rescued by the Malkangiri district administration while they were being trafficked outside the famous Bonda hills, official sources said today. "Acting upon an information, we rescued 11 girls including seven minors, from a bus at Berhampur in Ganjam district on May 7th night," Bonda project leader Sontosh Ratha told PTI.

All the girls hail from Andrahol village under Khairaput block, he said adding that the human trafficker identified as Pitabas Khemudu had been arrested. Khemudu, a Balugon based labour contractor, allegedly lured the girls with training at an agricultural institute in Bhubaneswar. Khemudu also confessed before police that he was taking the girls to hand them over to another labour contractor in the state capital.

The Bonda tribe girls were spotted by one of the passengers of the bus. "The man informed the incident to the district administration which acted promptly to rescue the gullible girls," an official said. The girls were lodged at a Childline at Berhampur from where they had been brought to Malkangiri today, Rath said adding that girls would be rehabilitated by the district administration. Meanwhile, the district collector of Malkangiri Balwant Singh met the rescued tribals girls and assured them of proper rehabilitation.

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