One of the main reasons women at the Navjivan Mahila Vastigruha in Mankhurd are able to escape so easily is that it is a shelter home and so the security provisions are not stringent as it is in a jail, say the police.
While a jail has massive security as it is anticipated that inmates will want to flee, one does not expect those housed in a shelter home to want to run away, Quaiser Khalid, additional commissioner of police (east region), said. “A shelter home is meant to help those who have been rescued. It works as a reform home and the environment there is different from that in a jail.”
As per law, a shelter home does not have police personnel guarding it.
An officer, on condition of anonymity, said: “The main issue with the Mankhurd shelter home is that living conditions are pathetic so the women want to escape. There are women inside who have not been allowed to go to the compound for more than a year.”
Another problem is that some women, who have been allowed by court to go home, are languishing there because of shortage of police personnel to escort them home.
According to the official, the women don’t have to try very hard to escape. “The rods on the window grills can be bent with some effort, and the 12-feet-high compound wall has bricks jutting out, which the women can use to jump over,” the official said.
“The answer to the problem is to improve the living conditions inside the home and to send those women who have been allowed by court to their homes. Security presence can only play a limited role in keeping the women in if they are desperate to escape,” the official said.