Government

Inmates Were Sent to Deoria Shelter Home Even After It Was Derecognised

While the shelter home was in the news recently for alleged sexual exploitation of girls, it was derecognised in June 2017 following a CBI probe that found financial irregularities. However, inmates were still sent to the home and the supervisor participated in official functions.

New Delhi: More murky revelations are coming out about Deoria’s shelter home. Recently in the news for alleged sexual exploitation of inmates, the shelter home’s supervisor enjoying considerable political and bureaucratic clout, was invited to participate in official functions even after a government order to shut down the institution.

On August 6, police rescued 24 women from a shelter home run by Girija Tripathi after a 10-year-old inmate alleged sexual exploitation. 18 other inmates were missing, police said. The news came close on the heels of alleged mass exploitation of girls residing in shelter homes in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, where at least 34 minor girls were raped in one shelter home and 11 in another one. Following the revelations, the Centre called for an audit of 9,000 shelter homes to be completed within 60 days.

However, according to a report in the Hindu, the Deoria shelter continued to receive inmates – including minor girls – even after the home was derecognised for financial irregularities. The registration of the shelter home was suspended in June 2017 following reports of irregularities found by the CBI. The investigation agency filed a report in which it found financial irregularities and misdemeanour.

Even as the Deoria administration ordered that all inmates housed in the home be shifted, the manager did not take any action since there was “no alternative”. No concrete action was taken against the NGO till the lid blew off the sexual exploitation at the Deoria shelter home. Taking the plea that its mandate was limited to looking into fund allocation and financial misappropriation, the CBI did not visit the shelter homes or speak to the inmates.

According to the Hindu, in February, eight months after the home’s derecognition, supervisor Tripathi was invited by the district administration to find couples for a mass marriage ceremony organised by the UP social welfare department. The event was attended by UP minister Surya Pratap Shahi.

ADM (finance) S.R. Gupta confirmed to the Hindu that Tripathi participated in mass marriage events conducted by the government. He could not explain why the NGO was picked, but stated “no funds were transferred” to the organisation. Tripathi was also appointed by the previous police chief as the coordinator of a project to settle disputes between quarreling spouses.

The state’s child and women welfare department records show that the Deoria home received around ₹90 lakh in government grants between 2012 and 2017 under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

Tripathi also ran an old age home in Gorakhpur. Allegations have now surfaced that its inmates were harassed and not provided proper food. A former employee of the home told the Hindu, “They would not feed the old women. The inmates would tell me Girija Tripathi’s daughter (who ran this home) would harass them.” Ajeet Kumar, a former councillor who had inaugurated the old age home, said on receiving complaints of inmates not being treated well, he had inspected the shelter home and found it did not provide proper medicines either.

According to police, Girija Tripathi’s husband faced a charge of cheating in an adoption case in 2015, the Hindu reported.

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