Delhi Police have rescued a 15-year-old girl from Rajasthan after she was reportedly abducted by a man and a woman and then sold off for marriage for 60,000 rupees (US$800).

According to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police, members of their Anti-Human Trafficking Unit safely rescued the minor following her reported disappearance on Sept. 16. She was last spotted in her home in Delhi's Haidarpur, the Daily Pioneer reported. 

The incident sparked immediate investigation to locate the missing teen, which saw relatives and friends of the victim give statements to police inquiries. Further investigations then reveal the youngster was in regular contact with a man named Neeraj Sonkar, of Paschim Vihar, and a woman, who identified herself as Muskan.

Cops alleged that the duo lured the child to the home of their third associate, a woman named Sheetal, in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Sheetal managed to sell the minor to Gopal Lal, a male resident of Sikar, Rajasthan for 60,000 rupees (US$800). 

Following the transaction, Neeraj Sonkar received his 50% share of 30,000 rupees (US$400) while Sheetal pocketed the other half, the Times of India noted.

Nearly a month following the victim's disappearance, she was located in the Sikar farmland where rescuers said she was beaten with sticks, sexually abused and held captive by the man who had purchased her to marry his 38-year-old brother-in-law, Daanvir. 

Police are now investigating the authenticity of the victim's marriage to Daanvir amid strong suspicions she was forced to wed him.

“She was held captive in a room. Whenever she used to ask them for a phone to contact her family, they used to tell her that they had purchased her. They used to keep a tab on her whenever she would come out of the room for daily activities," a police spokesperson said. 

The news comes amid the Rajasthan Government's move to scrap the Rajasthan Compulsory Registrations of Marriage Amendment Bill of 2021, which controversially mandates the registry of all marriages, including those of minors, which may at times be forced. 

In response, the government clarified last month that registration of marriage does not necessarily mean giving any validity to the union, especially if forced. It does not bar the court from declaring a child marriage void.

The bill passed the state Assembly last month, amending Section 8 of the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act of 2009.

Such move resulted in the opposition slamming the Congress government for opening “the floodgates” for child marriage in Rajasthan, which several social welfare organizations claim is a social evil, according to India Today.

In 2006, the state of Rajasthan banned child marriage through the Child Marriage Prohibition Act. It then dramatically shrank child marriage numbers in recent years, with 523 child marriages prevented in the state from 2019 to 2020 and 160 more from 2020 to 2021.

indian bride A 15-year-old girl was forced to marry a 38-year-old abusive man for for 60,000 rupees (US$800). This is a representational image. Unsplash