Sexual abuse and assault, naked parade, pornography, beating, forcible abortion, starvation and intoxication of inmates. This is what went on at Apna Ghar, a Rohtak-based shelter home, as per the report submitted by two members of the four advocates' committee constituted by the Punjab and Haryana high court.
According to the report, based on interviews of 101 shelter home inmates, caretaker Jaswanti Devi, her relatives, outsiders and also policemen indulged in abuse and torture. Committee members Anil Malhotra and Sudeepti Sharma have recommended handing over of the case to an independent agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The report was put up before the vacation bench of the high court comprising justice LN Mittal and justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia on Wednesday.
The two committee members visited 12 shelter homes across Haryana where 101 Apna Ghar inmates in
the age group of 4-60 years were shifted last month. The duo has also recommended immediate medical examination of 50 inmates at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, besides gynaecological examination, psychiatric evaluation, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test and drug addiction tests.
The report has suggested that if any inmate is found to be pregnant, their deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) should be matched with that of accused Jai Bhagwan, Satish and Jaswant.
Mentioning the panel members' visit to Bal Bhawan at Bahadurgarh to interview Apna Ghar inmates, the report reads, "Shockingly, some children aged between 5 and 10 years complained of perverse sexual abuse in the form of oral sex by Satish and Jai Bhagwan.
They also complained that they were stripped naked, suspended from the ceiling in the reverse position with a cloth or dupatta and then brutally beaten with bamboo sticks."
"They also stated that every inmate, irrespective of the age, was forced to consume liquor at night, especially on the occasion of Holi. Jai Bhagwan and Satish used to put Holi colours on their private parts… Alternatively, Jai Bhagwan and Satish videographed each other while doing sex," the report said, adding that inmates were also used as construction labourers to build Jaswanti's house.
After interviewing inmates at various shelter homes, the committee members found that minor girls were taken out to entertain people. "The girls were told that they were married to the person they were sent with so that they did not object to sexual exploitation. They were also forced to have liquor before sex," the report said.
The report further said, "Emphasising the atrocities committed by Jaswanti, a child reported that they were beaten by putting her (Jaswanti's) leg on their chest in a naked state. They also stated that donations in the form of clothes, eatables, etc. never reached them." The committee members also found out that children were taken to temples and forced to commit thefts.
As per the report, during their visit to Sahara Ashram Sewa Dal, Rohtak, the committee members "were witness to an extremely heart-rending emotional outburst of an inmate (name withheld) aged about 35 years, whose small baby had been sold in the garb of adoption by Jaswanti when she was in Apna Ghar. She had along with her two children…
Apparently, while at Apna Ghar, she had complained bitterly to Jaswanti for taking away her baby and selling it to somebody in adoption. To punish and torture her, Jaswanti reportedly had inserted scissors into her private parts which had caused her immense pain and agony."
About inmates' abortions, the committee members reported, "They were taken out of Apna Ghar on Jaswanti's orders on the pretext of cutting wheat (dhan or gehun), which actually meant that they were being taken away to Jai Bhagwan's house or other places for 2-3 days for sexual molestation/exploitation, as ordered by Jaswanti, at the hands of Jai Bhagwan, Satish, policemen and outsiders, thereafter they were made to suffer abortions by giving tablets and inserting objects into private parts."
The committee also came to know that newly-born children were sold to people on the pretext of adoption by Jaswanti in case these were male, while female children were brought up to be used for immoral purposes.
The committee members' report added, "One of the girls told us that they were brought to Chandigarh on the pretext of an outing and forced to take a bath in a hotel pool to be clicked and videographed naked. Similarly, they were clicked and videographed in Haridwar by Jai Bhagwan and Satish. These girls told us, 'Humein nanga karke, murga banaa ke, baans ke dande se maarte thhe' (they used to strip us naked, make us sit on our haunches and hit us with a bamboo stick)."