A report by the high court-appointed State Coordination Committee for Child Protection that said five mentally challenged girls at the orphanage in Panvel had been raped, also said that outsiders were observed on the premises in close contact with the girls.
Nila Girish Turpude, a member of the Divisional Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and an advocate as well as social worker from Alibaug, lodged a complaint with the Kalamboli police on Friday.
According to SK Dubbal, senior police inspector of Kalamboli police station, “Of the nineteen girls, five were reportedly physically and sexually abused at the sanstha. Of these five girls, four are also deaf-mute. He added, “We have arrested four officials of the sanstha and slapped rape charges against them.”
Dubbal said, “We are investigating the matter thoroughly to ensure the guilty are brought to book.”
The report said the deaf mute caretaker of the sanstha, Sonali Bharde, was incapable of managing the girls.
The committee said at least seven girls had died here since 2003, but the sanstha had not been maintaining proper records. The files of two of these girls are missing and the reason for their deaths is not clear. The report added that at least three girls were understood to have run away, but immediate police complaints were not filed in any of the cases.
The inmates have now been shifted to a children’s home in Karjat.