Eighteen girls who ran away from a government-run centre for impoverished women in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday night, have alleged that a security guard at the home has been sexually harassing a fellow inmate, police said.
According to the Kampo police, the girls who ran away from the Nari Niketan located at the Jayarogya Hospital in Gwalior, reached the police station and lodged a complaint, saying that they did not feel safe at the home.
In their complaint, the girls alleged that a home guard posted at the centre, repeatedly molested one of their fellow inmates.
The girls, in their complaint alleged that youngsters often entered the centre and harassed inmates.
Police said the 17-year-old girl had allegedly tried to commit suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling of her room, saying that she was teased by her fellow inmates about her harassment by the security guard.
Police have recorded the statement of the girl and her fellow inmates, said Gwalior additional superintendent of police Virendra Jain.
"In her statement to the police, the girl said her fellow inmates forced her to take this step. She alleged that fellow inmates often passed vulgar comments linking her with the guard,” he said.
Jain said police have recorded the statement of all the girls and are investigating the matter.
Police are searching for the seven girls who ran away from the centre but did not reach the police station, he said.
The girls alleged that whenever they told the centre’s matron about the harassment, instead of taking action against the guard or increasing security at home, she misbehaved with them and dismissed their complaint.
Gwalior collector Sanjay Goyal has written a letter to district home guard commandant asking him to take action against the security guard.
State women and child development minister Maya Singh has directed the commissioner for women’s empowerment to conduct an inquiry into the incident.
The incident was serious and the reasons behind it must be found out, Singh said in an official statement.
Sources said commissioner for women’s empowerment, Kalpana Shrivastava, will go to Gwalior to investigate the case and submit a report to the minister.