October 28, 2020

‘Tainted’ NGO runs Bal Grih

Bhagalpur: The district administration continues to use the services of Rupam Pragati Samaj Samity for running Bal Grih (child home) here.

In September 2017, on the basis of an audit conducted by Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), a case was registered against the office-bearers of the Khagaria-based Rupam Pragati Samaj Samity at the Zero Mile police station for torturing the inmates and financial irregularities. “Even after the police case against the NGO, how is it still operating here?” is the common question on many lips here. The state government gives Rs 2,000 per children per month to the NGO.

Seven inmates have escaped from the Bal Grih this month, exposing the state of affairs of the NGO that runs Bal Grih. Police are yet to locate the two inmates aged about 15-16 who escaped from Bal Grih on July 27. Earlier, five inmates managed to escape from the Bal Grih on July 8.

Investigation revealed that the five inmates had escaped to save themselves from torture at the hand of the staff of the Bal Grih. District magistrate Pranav Kumar and SSP Ashish Bhrati who visited Bal Grih on Saturday afternoon on a routine inspection were unaware that the inmates had fled during the morning. They came to know only when other inmates told them about it. The two officials forced them to register a complaint at the Zero Mile police station.

The inmates, around 40 in number, narrated how they subjected to face torture at the hands of the staff. “We have to work in the kitchen and wash the clothes of the staff,” one of them said. “They use to beat us while locking us inside the kitchen,” added another inmate.

Ajay, the superintendent of Bal Grih, at Zero Mile locality in Bhagalpur, however refuted such allegations by the inmates.

On May 17, 2017, nine children escaped from the Bal Grih. Police and NGO Childline managed to find six of them. In 2016, a child inmate suffered injuries at the hands of a staff and was admitted to JLNMCH with a head injury.

District magistrate Pranav Kumar was not available for comment but Gitanjali Prasad, the district child development officer, Bhagalpur, said like the incident on July 8, two boys escaped from the ventilator of their room. She denied the involvement of any staff of Bal Grih in the incident. “On July 23, six children were brought here from Bhagalpur railway station and two of them escaped,” she added.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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