October 24, 2020

Uproar over shelter horror

Patna: The Muzaffarpur police are trying to trace four minor girls who had allegedly “escaped” from another home run by the Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, which ran the Balika Grih at the centre of the shelter horrors scandal.

The girls, according to the records of the Swadhar Home on Sahu Road in Muzaffarpur, around 71km north of Patna, had been declared “absconders” and a diary entry was lodged with the Town police station on December 16, 2013 by the superintendent, Meena Kumari, a day after the girls had fled.

The girls were stated to be residents of Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Bihar’s Madhubani and Muzaffarpur districts.

Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harpreet Kaur said on Tuesday that one of the four girls, stated to be a resident of Saraiya in Muzaffarpur district, was, however, found to be staying with her in-laws after marriage.

“Efforts are on to contact the family members of the three other girls,” Kaur told The Telegraph.

Three other girls living in the Swadhar Home had died. However, the post-mortem was conducted on only two of the girls, and the third had purportedly died due to some serious ailment.

An investigating officer said the cops were focusing on all seven girls of the Swadhar Home.

Highly placed sources said Swadhar Home used to be run from central government funds which had stopped around two years ago. Swadhar Home, however, was operational till the shelter home scandal came to light in May this year.

A total of 471 girls were housed since 2013 at the two shelter homes run by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti and apart from the seven inmates on the police radar the rest were handed over either to their parents or the police, sources said.

The director of the social welfare department, Raj Kumar, has approved the Muzaffarpur district magistrate’s proposal to lodge a fresh FIR in connection with the “escape” of the seven inmates of Swadhar Home.

Though Sohail could not be contacted for his comments, sources said that the district magistrate has asked the station house officer of Muzaffarpur Town police station to lodge a fresh case in this connection.

The social welfare department also carried out an internal investigation into the four shelter homes run by the Samiti – three in Muzaffarpur and one in Bettiah.

Rights panel visit

A two-member team of the Bihar State Commission for Child Rights visited Muzaffarpur on Tuesday and inquired about the sexual exploitation of minor girls living in Balika Grih.

The team members, Prema Sah and Vijay Kumar Raushan, spoke to the family members of Brajesh Thakur, the arrested owner of the NGO that ran the shelter home, local residents and police officers investigating the case.

The team would visit other shelter homes in the state to check on the residents.

The team later held a meeting with officials of the social welfare department and suggested measures to prevent such scandals.

Old-age home shuts

The inmates of a home for the old, Sahara Vridhashram on the Muzaffarpur-Pusa Road near Kanhauli on the outskirts of Muzaffarpur, have fled after the shelter home scandal surfaced.

“The home for the old is closed for the past two months,” a senior police officer on Tuesday quoted Kumar Kesari Nandan Singh, owner of the building that Sahara Vridhasharam operated from, as saying.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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