The girls were sexually exploited, paraded naked and tortured. These and other disturbing findings were revealed in a surprise raid by a team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on a children's shelter home late on Wednesday in Rohtak, Haryana.
"The girls have levelled very serious allegations. The premises of the shelter home have been sealed," said Vinod Kumar Tikku, one of the four members of the commission team.
The girls told commission members as well as mediapersons and state officials present that a male caretaker at the shelter home run by NGO Bharat Vikas Sangh had molested them.
The home is run by Jaswanti, 47, who has been honoured with the Indira Gandhi Nari Shakti Puraskar carrying a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and a citation certificate by the Haryana government. The shelter home has around 50 girls and boys.
The commission members, including Dinesh Lahoria, R Nayyar and Ajay Kumar, reached Rohtak following a complaint lodged by three girls who reportedly escaped from the home on Monday and were found in New Delhi a day later.
"The girls have revealed several things to the commission but it would not be possible right now to reveal any more," Lahoria said, adding that the commission members would reveal all details to the media after the end of the raid.
The commission criticised the district administration including the superintendent of police and acting deputy commissioner besides state child protection department officials for not conducting raids or maintaining records of the NGO.
"We have called a meeting of all heads of child care institutions in Haryana on Monday," Tikku said.
He said the commission would file its report to the central government and had asked the police to register a case under relevant sections.
Jaswanti, however, said all reports of abuse of girls were "baseless" and she was confident she would get a clean chit.