Priyakala Rai and  Pema Choden | Interns

Thimphu police detained a non-Bhutanese construction worker on January 3 for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.

The minor’s parents reported that their daughter was missing to police on January 3.

Police sources said they managed to locate the girl on January 4.

The minor’s parents said the construction worker worked at a site near their home. “After seeing her alone, he took her to his camp forcefully,” the mother said. “He has even tried to lure her there before, but she managed to escape that time by closing the door.”

According to the mother, the construction worker trapped her daughter in a room for a day and night. “She escaped the next day after a man opened the door when she kept banging on it.”

It was learnt that after fleeing from the construction camp, the minor intended to go to Paro as she was scared to come home, but police intercepted her on the way.

Police officials said this is the second time the parents had filed a report to them about the minor girl going missing. “The first incident occurred three months ago when she went missing with her boyfriend. We found her at Namseling.”

Police officials did not reveal the name of the accused.

Officials also said they are investigating the case and will frame the charges soon.

Meanwhile, the minor’s mother said her daughter has some problems she cannot understand. “My daughter has some mental issues. She frequently avoids family gatherings and prefers to be alone in her room. She becomes abusive at times and suffers from mood swings.”

She said they took her to the hospital, but a doctor just gave them some advice and didn’t recommend any treatment. “I want to seek help for my daughter, but I am too embarrassed to talk about her problem.”

The mother also said she sought the assistance of a school counsellor, who provided basic counselling to the victim. “That did not help much, as she had to stop going to the counselling sessions because of her exams.”

She also said that it is difficult living with a child with these issues as many people don’t understand. “The neighbours stigmatise and mock my daughter and us.”

The mother also said the accused’s friend came to their house, requesting an internal settlement of the case, claiming he has a family to look after. “They asked us to withdraw the case. We live in fear.”