Two minor girls, aged 14 and 15, were found missing from Gandhi Vanita Ashram, a children’s home for girls at the Ashram Complex in the city, on Thursday night.
While 15-year-old Karanpreet (name changed), who hails from Dirba in Sangrur, was residing in the ashram since May last year, 14-year-old Swati (name changed) from Bhagalpur in Bihar, was there since January 2013. Some staff members at the children’s home claimed that they duo jumped over a wall with help of buckets.
As soon as the girls were found missing while taking attendance in the night, the ashram management informed the police following which police officials, including ADCP-I Paramjeet Singh and SHO Jiwan Singh, reached the spot and initiated investigation into the incident.
Karanpreet reportedly lived with her grandfather Nachhtar Singh in Dirba after her parents’ death. Singh showed his inability to take care of her and approached the Sunam administration which asked to send her to the ashram in May last year.
The Hajipur police had found Swati abandoned in a place near Mukerian and she was brought to the ashram on January 24, 2013. On Thursday morning, the ashram management held a religious discourse in the memory of superintendent Jaswinder Kaur who died on January 26. Other inmates of the ashram informed that they last saw the two girls around 7 pm on Thursday.
The duo had also tried to flee from the ashram a few days back, but failed to do so, other inmates claimed.
Further, it has found that the ashram does not any security guard and the outer wall of building is just four-foot high even as it was recommendations were made to raise the walls and install barbed wires earlier.
ADCP-I Paramjeet Singh said a case of kidnapping has been registered at the police station-2 and teams have been sent to the girls’ hometowns, but they are yet to get any clue about them.
Singh said the police teams searched for them at the local bus stand, railway station and hotels, but to no avail.
HT has the inspection report prepared on May 9 last year by district and sessions judge Raj Shekhar Attri, who along with chief judicial magistrate-cum-secretary district legal services authority Rana Kanwar Deep Kaur had visited the home on April 25.
The report stated that there were no security arrangements at the observation home, children’s home and children’s home for girls at the complex. However, no watchman or police guards were deployed there. Moreover, strangers were found inside the ashram complex without any authorisation to do so.
The report also reveals that closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were found installed in living rooms in gross violation of children’s privacy,