Bhopal police arrested the caretaker of a government-recognised shelter for allegedly burning the private parts of minor girls to stop bed-wetting.
Following the complaint of a woman, a three-member team of Rekha Shridhar (the Child Welfare Committee), Anurag Joshi (the Women and Child Development department) and Archana Sahay (Childline) visited the shelter home in the morning hours on Tuesday.
The woman had approached the Bajriya police station with the help of child welfare committee on Monday to alert the cops about the treatment meted out to her five-year-old daughter. A medical examination of the girl has confirmed the charges, the police said.
Much to their horror, the three-member team learnt from the girls that two others had gone through the same cruelty at the hands of the caretaker, Kalawati. They also revealed that a 10-year-old inmate used to do it on the instruction of Kalawati. Twenty girls stayed at the shelter home run by an NGO.
One of the three team members said two minor girls confided with them that their private parts were burnt with a candle. When they asked the 10-year-old girl about it, she confessed that the caretaker had asked her to do so to girls who wetted their beds.
"We came to know that a 10-year-old girl did it with these girls on Kalawati’s instruction...This happened to all of them on one day - either January 11 or January 12. Children are not sure about the date. The committee has registered statement of all the inmates. Now, we are inquiring into the matter whether the girl acted herself or on the order of caretaker," district officer at the WCD department, Anurag Joshi said.
Kalawati was charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.
An NGO representative said a parallel inquiry would be conducted into the episode. "We shall take action according to the reports of our committee. The panel visited the shelter home on Tuesday. Kalawati has been brought to book already," the NGO representative said.