Girls at Balika Grahan of Nirmal Chaya, an observation home in West Delhi, do not want to share space with rescued sex workers and rape victims who are sent there on court’s direction.
At the Children’s Day function organised by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) at the Supreme Court, the girls, all less than 18 years of age, pleaded before Supreme Court and Delhi High Court judges to solve their problem.
“We have nothing against them. But when pregnant girls (rape victims) and those from Kamla Nagar (GB road) come to live with us, they vitiate the home’s atmosphere,” said one of the girls.
“Though their stay is temporary, they still influence the home inmates who are living for permanent care and protection. Our studies get affected.”
The girls urged either they should be provided with alternative accommodation or both the sex workers and rape victims should be moved out of Nirmal Chaya.
Responding to their plea, senior judge and Supreme Court collegium member Justice Tarun Chatterjee promised to “look into the matter”.
NALSA member secretary Sarath Chandra also assured the girls of an “immediate redressal” of their grievance.
According to one of the girls, the rescued sex workers freely discuss their experiences with the inmates.
“It embarrasses us,” said a girl who is preparing for her Class X board exams and is living at the home for the past six years. “Girls of my age do not get influenced. But the younger ones do get carried away,” she added.
An officer from the home said, “It does have a negative impact.”
“But we cannot refuse entry to such girls as they are sent on court orders.”
The girls share common toilets, dining halls and courtyards, though the dormitories of home inmates and sex workers or rape victims are separate.
The officer added that the home is already overcrowded.
As against the sanctioned strength of 100, there are 235 girls in the home.
About 100 are rescued sex workers or rape victims. The remaining ones are either orphans or runaways who have sought shelter at the home.