24 girls allegedly sexually abused in U.P. shelter home rescued, 18 missing

Twenty-four girls were rescued from a shelter home in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, and three people arrested following allegation of sexual exploitation of the inmates. Eighteen inmates , however, were missing, , police said on Monday.

“Twenty-four girls were rescued on Sunday from the shelter home on station road in the name of Ma Vindhyawasini Mahila Prakishan Evam Samaj Sewa Sansthan and 18 inmates are missing. We have sealed it,” Superintendent of Police Rohan P. Kanay said.

The matter comes in the backdrop of the alleged sexual abuse of 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.

When asked for her comments on the issue, U.P. Women and Child Development Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said, “The recognition of the NGO was revoked one year back and funds were stopped.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.”

The details of activities at the shelter home emerged when a 10-year-old 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 they returned in the morning, they used to cry,” the girl alleged.

The Deoria SP said the girl told the police that around 4 .p.m 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.

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

However Girija Tripathi told reporters that the charges were baseless and payment of last three years was pending. The Deoria SP has been directed by the U.P. 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.

Medical tests of the children would be made by a woman doctor and the statement recorded before a magistrate, Mr. Kumar 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 inmates from there. “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,” the SP said.

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. “We are probing the matter.”

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