New Delhi: After recent revelations of widespread abuse of inmates in Bihar’s shelter homes, similar disturbing reports have surfaced in the shelter homes of Uttar Pradesh. Twenty-four girls have been rescued from a shelter home in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh and three people arrested after allegations of sexual exploitation of the girls came to light.
Eighteen girls who lived in the shelter are still missing, the police said. “Twenty-four girls were rescued yesterday from the shelter home at station road in the name of Ma Vindhyawasini Mahila Prakishan Evam Samaj Sewa Sansthan, which has 42 girls. Eighteen are still missing. We have sealed it,” superintendent of police Rohan P. Kanay said.
The police found out about the matter when a ten-year-old who was living at the shelter managed to escape and tell the police about what was happening. “Badi Ma’am le jaati thi. Kabhi safed, lal, kaali gaadi aati thi… Char baje jaati thi… subah aati thi… Didi subah kuch nahi kehti thi… uski aankh sooj aati thi (Senior Ma’am used to take them. Sometime a white car, a red or a black car would come. They would leave at 4 pm and return in the morning. Didi wouldn’t speak in the morning, her eyes would be swollen),” Indian Express quoted the ten-year-old as telling the police.
This matter has come to light while outcry around alleged sexual abuse of young girls at a state-funded shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur is still continuing. Sexual abuse of 34 girls out of 42 there was confirmed in a medical examination.
When asked for her comments on the issue, UP women and child development minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said, “The recognition of the NGO was revoked one year back and funds were stopped. We will probe how it was functioning till now and see who is responsible for this.”
Girija Tripathi and her husband Mohan Tripathi, who operated the shelter home, and its superintendent Kanchanlata have been arrested, police said. Girija Tripathi told reporters that the charges were baseless.
The SP Deoria has been directed by the UP police headquarters in Lucknow to take stern action against the culprits. “The entire matter will be investigated and the local administration is already taking action. The Women and Child Development Department is also coordinating. The inquiry will be done under proper legal procedure,” ADG law and order Anand Kumar said in Lucknow.
A woman doctor will carry out the medical tests on the children. Their statement will be recorded before a magistrate, Anand said.
The SP said the registration of the shelter home was suspended in June 2017 on the report of irregularities found by the CBI and the administration gave an order to shift all the girls out. “But the manager was running the home and told us that the high court has given a stay. When she was not able to show the court order, the administration sent a team to the shelter home to shift the girls but the manager did not cooperate,” he said.
According to the Indian Express, the NGO running the shelter home had its licence suspended after a misappropriation of funds case was investigated at a creche run by the same NGO.
A case was then registered against Kanchanlata and Girija Tripathi under Section 353 of the IPC (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) when the girls were not allowed to be removed from the premises, the SP said.
Meanwhile, the opposition has been attacking the Adityanath-led BJP government on the issue.
While the Congress demanded a CBI probe into the incident, the Samajwadi Party alleged that the present government is not serious about the issues concerning women.
(With PTI inputs)