Twenty-four girl inmates were rescued from a shelter home in Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria district after an allegation of their sexual exploitation came to light, close on the heels of the alleged sexual abuse of young girls at a state-funded shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur.
“Twenty-four girls were rescued on Sunday from Maa Vindhyavasini Mahila Prashikshan Evam Samaj Sewa Sansthan at station road Deoria, which has 42 inmates. Eighteen girls are still missing. We have sealed it,” said Superintendent of Police, Rohan P Kanay.
The police on Monday said, three people -- Girija Tripathi and her husband Mohan Tripathi, who runs the shelter home, and its superintendent Kanchanlata -- were arrested in this connection.
The incident has prompted the Uttar Pradesh government to swing into a damage control mode by removing the district magistrate, Sujit Kumar and ordering a high-level probe. Besides, the then district probation officer (DPO) Abhishek Pandey has been suspended and a departmental probe ordered against two other officers.
Talking to reporters at Lucknow, Minister for Women and Child Welfare Rita Bahuguna Joshi said, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered immediate removal of the Deoria District Magistrate. A high-level probe team including Additional Chief Secretary Renuka Kumar and ADG (Women Cell) Anju Gupta have been rushed to Deoria. The team has been asked to submit its report by Monday night, she said.
She said the chief minister had already issued an order on August 3, after the 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. Sexual abuse of 34 inmates out of 42 was confirmed in medical examination of the Muzaffarpur victims.
Activities at the Deoria shelter home came to light when a 10-year-old girl belonging to Bihar's Bettiah city managed to flee from there. She reached a woman police station and informed about the plight of the inmates in the shelter home. “Many times white, black and red cars used to come and take away the girls. When they return in the morning, they used to cry," the girl told the police.
SP Deoria Rohan Kanay said the young girl told the police that around 4 pm every day some people come and take away some girls along with the manager with them. He 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.
“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.
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 the government is not doing its job seriously,” Congress leader Ashok Singh said.
After the Bihar's Muzaffarpur sex scandal came to light, 14 officials were suspended for “negligence and dereliction of duty” after a massive public outcry and opposition attack. (Inputs taken from PTI)
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