Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Tuesday admitted that the Deoria district administration failed to shut down the shelter from where 24 girls were rescued following allegations of sexual abuse and trafficking. Adityanath recommended an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the matter.
The chief minister said a special investigation team and a special task force has been set up to prevent tampering of evidence until the investigating agency takes over the case involving the Maa Vindhyavasini Mahila and Balika Sanrakshan Grih. “Our inquiry has found that the shelter home was running in its current form since 2009,” NDTV quoted Adityanath as saying. “In June 2017, our government had ordered that the home be closed and the girls be sent to other homes, but this was not done despite repeated letters from our side. A first information report was filed against the shelter home owners on July 30. Still no action was taken.”
The licence of the shelter home was revoked in 2007 after investigations, but it continued to operate after getting a stay order from the Allahabad High Court. Adityanath accused the previous governments of inaction. “The involvement of the previous governments in the shelter home racket has come to light,” the chief minister said.
The police had arrested the managers of the shelter after the matter came to light on August 5. Seventeen other girls are still missing from the shelter home. One of the 18 missing inmates was found in an old age home in Gorakhpur, District Magistrate Vijyendra Pandiyan told PTI. “A 21-year-old woman has been recovered from the old age home in Rani Diha area of Gorakhpur. As per the entry in the register, she was brought here on August 5,” Additional District Magistrate Prabhu Nath said. The inmate has been sent for a medical examination.
A two-member committee, appointed by state’s Women and Child Welfare Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi to investigate the matter, submitted its report on Tuesday.
The state government had ordered Etah District Magistrate Amit Kishore to take over from Deoria District Magistrate Sujit Kumar. Adityanath said a chargesheet will be filed against Kumar.
This comes weeks after at least 34 girls were raped at a shelter in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. The Bihar Police also excavated the ground at the institution to look for the body of a girl allegedly buried there. Ten of the 11 accused have been arrested so far.