In the violence that followed part of the partitioning of India, it is now known that more than 75000 women were abducted and raped, by men of religions different form their own, and sometimes by men of their own religion. This figure is usually seen as a conservative one, with other estimates being put at 100,000-120,000 because of thegeneral confusion and chaos of the time, there are no real records that can be used toconfirm these figures. But there is little doubt that the number was large. Immediately the state were made aware of the problem of missing women (through reports filed by their families) they swung into action and set up search committees made up of social workers (mostly women) and police, whose task was to go into each other’s countries (and they were given official permission for this) to find “rescue” and “recover” abducted women.
On the Indian side, the operation to recover the abducted women was known as The Central Recovery Operation and it lasted for nearly 9 years after which it came to an end. By that time, it became increasingly difficult to track down missing women; many had now settled into other relationships, but the key problem that led to the “closing down” of the operation was that of the children. Several women had now children and were unwilling to leave them but equally their families (i.e. their original families to whomthey were to be returned) were unwilling to take in children who they saw as being “polluted” because they were of mixed blood.
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