You could call it the downside of cyber-age friendships. A teenage girl from Goa, who had befriended a 21-year-old from Mumbai on a social networking site, was allegedly raped by him in the city recently. The unemployed youth Sirtaj Ali, who resides in Mankhurd, was arrested by the police on Sunday.
Six months after they became friends on Facebook, Ali invited the girl to Mumbai to “get married” to her. The 17-year-old reached Mumbai on January 8 and was allegedly sexually assaulted over the next couple of days. Ali then abandoned her at Kurla railway station. Ali has been booked for rape and kidnap under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Goa Children’s Act.
Son of a scrap dealer, Ali had created an account on Facebook by using a fake name — Mohammed Ali — and an impressive-sounding profile. He has studied up to class 12 in a college in Navi Mumbai.
The girl from Canacona in South Goa studies in class XI. As their friendship bloomed, Ali promised to marry the girl. On the morning of January 8, she left home to go to college but went to Madgaon railway station instead, from where she boarded a train for Mumbai. She met Ali at Kurla station.
From there, Ali took her to his friend’s house in Dharavi where he sexually assaulted her. The following day, he bought her a burkha (veil) and a mangalsutra for Rs40 to convince neighbours that she was his wife.
Sub-inspector RS Sakpal of Kurla railway police station said that Ali dropped the girl at Kurla station on January 10 and switched off his cell phone so that he could not be contacted.
The same evening, railway police personnel spotted the girl loitering at the station. When they confronted her, she told them about what she had gone through. Based on the girl’s description of where she had stayed in Dharavi for two days, the railway police combed the area and nabbed Ali.
The railway police immediately contacted the Goa police and reported the matter.
Sub-inspector Anil Goankar of Canacona police station, who had come to the city to take Ali into custody, said that the girl’s parents had filed a case of kidnapping the day she went missing.
The report of a medical check-up done at the civic-run Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar has confirmed sexual assault on two occasons. The girl has been sent to a home for children in Dongri.