National

24 girls rescued from UP shelter home

Deoria/Lucknow/New Delhi, Aug 6 (PTI): | Publish Date: 8/7/2018 12:00:00 AM IST

 Twenty-four girls were rescued from a shelter home in Deoria after allegation of sexual exploitation of the inmates came to light, prompting the Uttar Pradesh government to swing into a damage control mode by removing the district magistrate and ordering a high-level probe.  

Police said three people, including a couple who ran the shelter, were arrested in connection with the matter.

“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 inmates. Eighteen inmates are still missing. We have sealed it,” Superintendent of Police Rohan P Kanay said in Deoria.

Taking a serious note of the matter, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered immediate removal of Deoria District Magistrate Sujit Kumar, UP Minister for Women and Child Welfare Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters in Lucknow.

She said Adityanath has sent a high-level probe team to Deoria for on-the-spot inquiry. The chief minister has asked the probe team to prepare report by tonight itself.

“Besides this, the then district probation officer (DPO) Abhishek Pandey has been suspended and a departmental probe ordered against the two other officers. “Additional Chief Secretary Renuka Kumar and ADG (Women Cell) Anju Gupta have been rushed to Deoria and they have been asked to submit their report by tonight,” Joshi said.

The minister said that the recognition of the NGO was revoked one year back and funds were stopped. 

Abhishek Pandey was the district probation officer when the  recognition of the NGO was revoked.

She said that the chief minister had already issued an order on August 3, after Muzaffarpur incident in Bihar emerged, asking DMs in UP to check all such shelter homes.

“All DMs have been asked to submit their report within 12 hours,” the minister said.

The matter comes in the backdrop of the alleged sexual abuse of young girls at a state-funded shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur which led to a public outcry. Sexual abuse of 34 inmates out of 42 was confirmed in medical examination.

The details of activities at the shelter home emerged when a 10-year-old girl managed to flee from there. She reached a woman police station and informed them about the plight of the inmates.

“Many times white, black and red cars used to come and take away the girls. When the returned in the morning, they used to cry,” the girl alleged.

The SP Deoria said the young girl told the police that around 4 pm every day some people came and took away some girls along with the manager with them.

The 10-year-old girl belongs to Bihar’s Bettiah city and she also told the police that she escaped because of heavy work load.

Girija Tripathi and her husband Mohan Tripathi, who operated the shelter home, and its superintendent Kanchanlata were arrested, they said.

However Girija Tripathi told reporters that the charges were baseless and payment of last three years was pending, so she was running the shelter home.

The SP Deoria was directed by the UP Police Headquarters in Lucknow to take stern action against the culprits.

The medical test of the children would be made by a woman doctor and the statement recorded before a magistrate, Anand said.

The SP said the registration of the shelter home was suspended in June 2017 on report of irregularities found by the CBI and the administration gave an order to shift all the inmates from there.

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), the SP said. District Magistrate Sujit Kumar said there was a list of 42 inmates staying there.

Build single facility to prevent misuse: Maneka 

In the aftermath of the alleged sexual assault of minor girls in Muzaffarpur and Deoria, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today asked states to build a single large central facility to house such children in a bid to prevent “abuse and misuse” by NGOs.

She said the adoption and skill development programmes in a central facility would be much easier and it would also help in checking “abuse and misuse” by NGOs who are running their own shelter homes with grants from the government.

“I have been asking for a scheme where each state should have a single large facility to house all such girls and children which should be run by the state government,” she said.

Other homes in the state should only provide temporary shelter to women, girls and children in distress situations and after clearance by the Child Welfare Committee, Gandhi said.

Her suggestion came in the backdrop of the recent alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in Muzzafarpur and Deoria.

She also said that the Women and Child Development Ministry would be happy to fund the construction of these facilities in each state and then it handover to the state government. 

The second case of sexual assault against girls in Deoria in Uttar Pradesh came to light yesterday when a 10-year-old girl managed to flee from the shelter home and informed them about the plight of the inmates, who were reportedly sexually abused by the couple running the shelter home, after which police conducted a raid and 24 girls were rescued. 

The Uttar Pradesh government swung into a damage control mode by removing the district magistrate and ordering a high-level probe into the matter.

 

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