Uma knew that her 12-year-old son was being sodomised repeatedly at central Delhi's Arya Orphanage. But she chose to keep mum. For, the boy was at least getting two square meals a day and some sort of education. She could not have afforded that.Although poverty that drives children to orphanages also works as a restraint on the parents, 35-year-old Uma (name changed) finally broke her silence after reading reports of serial abuse at the orphanage, fearing for her son's safety.
Acting on Uma's complaint, Delhi police have registered an FIR. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC), looking into the case, recorded Uma and her son's statements on Monday.
Kiran Walia, minister for child and welfare, said, "Our CWC reports have revealed that children were subjected to sexual and physical assault. We will take stern and decisive action against those found guilty."
Uma is not alone. Parents of the Arya orphanage children, mostly living in northwest Delhi's Vijay Vihar — a rehabilitation colony for slum-dwellers — are either daily-wagers or domestic helps. Most of them earn as little as Rs 1,000 a month.
Radha (name changed), mother of the 11-year-old who died on December 24 after having been raped and physically assaulted for months by a 14-year-old resident of the orphanage, said, "She (the child) had hinted at being physically abused, but I thought it was a minor issue. Now, even if I am not able to feed my other two children, I can ensure they are safe here with me."
Another parent, Rehanna (name changed), said after getting to know about the incident she tried to get her children out of the orphanage, but the management didn't let her do that. "After the incident I won't leave them there at any cost. I'll get them out."