An investigation by a voluntary organisation on behalf of Delhi Police has revealed shocking details of alleged sexual assault in a central Delhi orphanage. The report, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, was submitted to Delhi Police on Friday.
Compiled by Haq Foundation and based on personal interviews and interaction with children who live in Arya Orphanage in Daryaganj, the report alleged that older residents and the staff members subjected a number of children to physical abuse and sexual assault.
The police confirmed getting the report from the NGO but were yet to verify the claims. "We have got a report from Haq Foundation and we will include these findings in further investigations," said Aslam Khan, additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central district).
Haq Foundation was asked to assist Delhi Police in investigating the death of an 11-year-old girl who lived in the orphanage. She was allegedly sexually and physically assaulted over six months and subsequently died of external injuries on December 24 last year.
The foundation claimed that the abuse of the girl was not an isolated incident. A 14-year-old boy apprehended by Delhi Police for allegedly raping the 11-year-old has allegedly confessed to sodomising five other boys, police sources claimed.
According to the NGO, the "older boys" as well the warden of the orphanages had been sodomising the younger boys.
"Vijay (name changed), a class 4 student living in the orphanage, informed that in the boys' hostel, children are abused by older boys well as the warden. He himself was abused by one of the boys in the orphanage. He told us that the older boys usually trap the younger ones with false promises of money and abuse them. This was usually done at night after dinner. They come into the room while others are sleeping and abuse the child in the room itself," the report alleged.
The report also claimed one or both parents of many children living in the orphanage were alive. "Most of the over 1,100 children reported to be housed there have their families outside, with either one or both parents alive and living together," stated the report.
According to sources, the Child Welfare Committee was also carrying out a separate investigation. A report prepared by the panel said there were other cases of sexual abuse in the orphanage.
The orphanage has, however, denied the charges.
"We have more than 1,500 residents in this orphanage. We have been taking care of them for long. One case should not be used to generalise the situation. We had stopped this NGO (Haq Foundation) from entering the premises after a day. We have just been told that the police have apprehended one of our kids. We have no other details. We have been running this orphanage for years and there might have been cases of eve-teasing but there has been no case related to sexual abuse. We take disciplinary action. The NGO had come to our orphanage to talk to the students but after a day we stopped them. Maybe they are being vindictive because of that," said Nitin Chaudhry, secretary of Arya Orphanage.
The case of the apprehended kid is pending before the juvenile justice court, Chaudhry said.
Haq Foundation has said all children mentioned in their report should get immediate police protection and removed from the institution. "FIRs need to be booked against older boys and wardens mentioned in the report for sexual abuse of boys. Investigation is also required against the guard of Kanya Sadan. Even if the orphanage is not registered under the juvenile justice law, it cannot be granted immunity from being subjected to police investigation in all the matters of abuse shared by the children," the report stated.