October 27, 2020

System to monitor homes soon, minister says

Patna: The state government is taking the help of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Tiss) and Unicef to develop standard procedures and establish guidelines to ensure regular social audit of and to keep tabs on shelter homes for girls, parliamentary affairs minister Shravan Kumar said in the Assembly on Tuesday.

The government’s response came after Opposition members demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the sexual exploitation of minor girls in government-funded short-stay (shelter) homes run by non-government organisations.

When Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary told the Opposition MLAs that he would direct the government to issue a detailed statement after completing the routine legislative work, senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui said the Opposition wanted to know whether the government would recommend a CBI probe or not.

Congress legislature party leader Sadanand Singh said police had lathi-charged his party leaders when they had joined a protest in Patna on Tuesday against the shelter home horror.

The Speaker then ruled that the government would give a statement on Tuesday itself. Unimpressed, some Opposition MLAs rushed to the Well, and within minutes all the Opposition members walked out of the Assembly.

When the government’s reply came, there were no Opposition members present.

Shravan also said that a team of specialists would review the action taken vis-à-vis short-stay homes on the basis of social audit done by Tiss.

He also said that to strengthen the security of the shelters, transgender persons would be deputed as guards.

He said that these homes get 90 per cent of their funds from the government, and NGOs that run them were selected on the basis of competitive bidding.

The NGO for the Muzaffarpur home – where medical examination of the 40 inmates suggests that 29 of them were raped – was selected on October 24, 2013, and the shelter was functional since November 1 that year. The minister also shared information on the progress in investigations into the shelter home cases.

The sexual exploitation of minor girls came to light when the government decided to get a social audit done of these homes, and Tiss was roped in for it.

Tiss had flagged mismanagement and exploitation after doing the social audit of homes in Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Munger, Bhagalpur and Motihari. Tiss submitted its report on April 27 this year, and the government convened a meeting on May 26 to chalk out a strategy for taking action against culprits. The action was ordered on May 29.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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