- The Washington Times - Monday, September 12, 2005

CALCUTTA — Separatist guerrillas in India’s northeastern state of Tripura are making pornographic films to fund their rebellion against the government.

Police officials said the tribal separatists of the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura, who are fighting for the independence of the state from New Delhi’s rule, are forcing kidnapped local tribal girls to act in the films, which then are sold in India and abroad.

“The rebel leaders are forcing the captured tribal village girls, boys and also some of their younger male conscripts to act in the porn films shot in isolated villages deep inside jungles,” said one police officer in Agartala, the capital of Tripura.

Tripura police Chief G.M. Srivastava said that based on information provided by surrendered guerrillas — who said their leaders also raped tribal girls — police raided rebel hide-outs and underground urban markets and recovered pornographic DVDs.

“Some of those films were dubbed in Burmese, Bengali, Hindi and Thai languages, suggesting that they were being marketed to many countries in the region,” Chief Srivastava said.

Some of the abducted girls also escaped from the custody of the rebels and reported their experiences to the police.

“First, I was told that it was an ordinary movie of romance, and I was the heroine. After the shooting took off, … the hero asked me to undress completely, and I was shocked. As I refused to take off my clothing, some gun-toting guerrillas ordered me to listen to the hero, … and I had to give in,” one girl told the police.

The girl, who has been provided special security by the police, said the militants had been forcing young village girls to have sex with them for several years.

Manas Paul, a local journalist, recently filed a public-interest petition before a court to highlight the cases of sexual exploitation of the tribal girls by the rebel leaders. He said the guerrillas started making the porn films last year, and at least a dozen such films are in circulation in and outside the country.

An investigating police officer in Agartala who did not want to be identified said the police have confirmed that the rebels are behind the films.

“In some of the raw footage we recovered from an editing studio we found gun-wielding guerrillas surrounding a cowering [frightened] girl. They were shouting abuses at the girl, who was probably refusing to listen to their command,” he said.

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