In order to identify the cases of torture and sexual abuse of Rohtak shelter home children, the Punjab and Haryana high court has constituted a four member advocates’ committee to visit various places in Haryana where the children had been shifted so as to file their report within six weeks.
A total of 103 children were residing in shelter home ‘Apna Ghar’ headed by Jaswanti Devi and run by non-governmental organization Bharat Vikas Sangh in Shri Nagar Colony, Rohtak. Now the children have been shifted to various places like Bahadurgarh, Gurgaon, Sonepat, Bhiwani and Panipat etc.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had conducted a surprise raid at the shelter home on May 10 after which the case came to light. Later advocate Utsav Singh Bains had filed a public interest litigation in the high court.
The division bench comprising the acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh on Friday directed that the committee would visit the shelter home and conduct interviews of the children on the basis of which the recommendations would be made as to how many children would require medical examination at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Examination and Research(PGIMER), Chandigarh.
The committee would comprise advocates Utsav Singh Bains, Anil Malhotra, Puneeti Sethi and Sudeepti Sharma. The members of the committee expressed their desire to the court that they would travel to Rohtak and other places from Tuesday onwards.
The bench also issued directions to the Haryana government to make all arrangements of vehicle, boarding and lodging. The directions were also issued to the state government that deputy superintendent of police and a lady police officer of the concerned area would extend every help to the members of the committee so that they may conduct their job smoothly.
However, the four team members expressed to the court that they would not like to take any remuneration for the task.
During the hearing of the case, deputy superintendent of police(DSP) Rohtak, Tula Ram submitted the status report before the court. A report from the PGIMER, Chandigarh was also received in a “sealed cover” regarding the medical examination conducted of eight girls of Rohtak shelter home by the board of doctors. Reportedly, two out of the eight girls were found to be sexually exploited.
The DSP’s affidavit mentioned that a special investigating team was constituted to examine the case after which seven persons namely Jaswanti Devi, Sushma, Jai Bhagwan, Satish, Sheela, Jaswant and Veena were arrested.
During the course of investigation it transpired that a deaf and dumb inmate is six months pregnant, informed the officer. It also came out that girls were also subjected to sexual molestation by the accused Jai Bhagwan and were being beaten and forcibly detained by Jaswanti. The children were being sold to other persons in exchange for money under the garb of adoption and who were being kept in dark about the consent of biological mothers of children, he informed.
It was submitted that 12 children were sold out of which whereabouts of nine have been traced by the police. During the investigation it also transpired that 12 mentally challenged girls were abandoned by Jaswanti and Satish on the night of May 8 in Delhi and Jaswanti received government aid for these girls.
The case would now come up for hearing on July 11.