The Bhopal Police on Friday arrested the director of a shelter home run for speech- and hearing-impaired children for alleged rape, sodomy and forced labour, reported The Indian Express. Two women who worked at shelter homes near Bhopal were also booked.
The 70-year-old retired army jawan was arrested after five differently-abled inmates, three boys and two girls, complained to the police of sexual abuse in the shelter’s Bairagarh branch. According to an unidentified police officer, the complaints and translations by an interpreter were recorded on video, after which First Information Reports were registered.
Earlier on Friday, 40 inmates visited the Congress office in Bhopal, reported PTI. They also lodged a complaint with the Director of the Social Justice Department of the Madhya Pradesh government.
Krishna Mohan Tiwari, director of the Social Justice Department, confirmed that he received a complaint, reported NDTV. “They have given us a letter about alleged sexual and physical assault by the owner of the hostel,” he said. “We will write to the collector and senior police officers for further investigation.”
Congress state media cell chief Shobha Oza alleged that a girl had complained about sexual harassment by the director to the Hoshangabad Collector in February 2017 but no FIR was registered even though the complaint was verified.
While the Hoshangabad branch of the shelter home was shut down following the complaint, the director abused three boys and a girl at its Bairagarh branch in Bhopal, claimed Oza.
In their complaint, the inmates claim that three children died earlier due to physical and sexual abuse, reported NDTV. While one of the boys died die to excessive bleeding after being sexually assaulted, another died after his head was banged on a wall. The third child died after he was made to stay outside at night in the cold, alleged the complainants.
Last month, the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights submitted a report on the status of children in shelter homes across the country. The court said the report’s findings were frightening. The Ministry of Women and Child Development ordered states to complete their audits of shelter homes and submit reports by September 15.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights prepared the report weeks after the alleged rape of at least 34 girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur came to light. Two women reportedly died at the shelter home.
On August 5, police rescued 24 girls from a shelter home in Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria district following allegations of sexual abuse and trafficking.