Twenty-four girls rescued from women shelter home in UP's Deoria following sexual abuse complaint, 18 inmates still missing

Twenty-four girls were rescued from a shelter home in Uttar Pradesh's Deoria after allegation of their sexual exploitation came to light, police said on Monday.

Press Trust of India August 06, 2018 14:31:48 IST
Twenty-four girls rescued from women shelter home in UP's Deoria following sexual abuse complaint, 18 inmates still missing

Deoria (UP): Twenty-four girls were rescued from a shelter home in Uttar Pradesh's Deoria after allegation of their sexual exploitation came to light, police said on Monday. Girija Tripathi and her husband Mohan Tripathi, who operated the shelter home, and its superintendent Kanchanlata were arrested, they said. This case comes close on the heels of alleged sexual abuse of young girls at a state-funded shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur.

Twentyfour girls rescued from women shelter home in UPs Deoria following sexual abuse complaint 18 inmates still missing

Representational image. AFP

"Twenty-four girls were recused 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.

The activities at the shelter home came to the fore when a girl managed to flee from there. She reached a 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 they returned in the morning, they used to cry," the girl alleged.  The 10-year-old girl belongs to Bihar's Bettiah city and she also told the police that she escaped because of heavy workload. “There have been complaints against this shelter home for a long time," Kanay said.

Kanay was 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. The medical test of the children would be carried out by a woman doctor and their statement would be recorded before a magistrate, Kumar said. “A case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to human trafficking, flesh trade and child labour", he said.

According to a News18 report, the licence of the shelter home had been revoked in 2007 after a CBI investigation found irregularities in its functioning, but it continued to operate after getting a stay order from the Allahabad High Court. According to Kanay, police personnel were misbehaved with when they went to conduct a check following the order to close the institution. The administration had also given an order to shift all the inmates from there but the police said that the manager was running the home and told the them 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," Kanay said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sacked the District Magistrate of Deoria Sujit Kumar for the lapse in ensuring the shelter home's closure. The chief minister has also asked the probe team to prepare a report by Monday night.

When asked for her comments on the issue, Uttar Pradesh 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. CM Yogi Adityanath has sent a high-level probe team for on-the-spot inquiry."

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

Meanwhile, the incident gave fresh ammunition to the opposition parties to attack the Yogi Adityanath-led government. While the Congress demanded a CBI probe into the incident, the Samajwadi Party alleged that the present government not serious about the issues of women. "The entire matter should be probed by the CBI. A probe by the central agency should be immediately ordered. Such an incident shows that government is not doing its job seriously," Congress leader Ashok Singh said. SP leader and MLC Udayveer Singh said the incident showed "insensitiveness" of the government towards women. "Why is the chief minister shying from take action against lax officers. Who is saving such officers? Immediate action is needed on such issues to give a strong message," Singh said.

The alleged sexual abuse of young girls at a state-funded shelter-home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur recently came to light, following which 14 officials were suspended on account of their "negligence and dereliction of duty" after a massive public outcry and opposition attack.

With inputs from PTI

 

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