Desperation: Poverty drove Purnima Halder to sell her three daughters
An Indian mother sold her three young daughters for just £2 after her drunken husband threw her out of their house.
Purnima Halder, 35, was so desperate that she could not even afford to buy the children a meal.
She sold the older two children, aged ten and eight, for 185 rupees (£2) and then gave her four-year-old away for free.
The incident took place in West Bengal's South 24-Parganas district.
Police rescued all the three girls after residents of Malancha village in the district's Neora locality informed them about a woman selling off her children because of poverty.
'All the three girls have been rescued after we carried out an extensive search taking Purnima along.
'We have already video-recorded her statement,' South 24-Parganas district police superintendent Praveen Tripathi said on Sunday.
'The girls are now in a shelter in the Mandirbazar area. Purnima was thrown out of her home by her husband Uttam Halder and gave her children to three different people so that they could get the much-needed sustenance and shelter.
'She was extremely worried as it was difficult for her to provide even a square meal to them,' a senior district police officer said.
Uttam, a plumber, was arrested late on Saturday on the charges of torturing his wife and daughters.
He was produced before the Diamond Harbour court on Sunday which remanded him to 14 day judicial custody.
Sold: Purnima's second daughter was rescued along with her sisters'We haven't arrested the people who had bought the girls as there was no complaint against them,' the officer added.
Tripathi said Purnima might have given away her daughters to different individuals but whether she actually sold them is yet to be ascertained.
'Maybe she got some money as help after giving away her daughters, thinking of their well-being,' he said. But the police are not ruling out the poverty angle.
'We are looking into that aspect as well,' Tripathi added. Purnima married Uttam around 12 years ago.
Last week, Uttam beat her and his three daughters and threw them out of the house.
The hapless mother took shelter at a nearby railway station and was seen begging in front of the ticket counter. Purnima later came in touch with a man called Prabhas, who advised her to sell off her daughters.