Girls run away from shelter home in Doon, security under scanner

Ironically, no one is allowed to leave or visit the shelter home without the district magistrate’s permission, so how could the girls leave without the security staff that includes three home guards being alarmed?

dehradun Updated: Dec 17, 2017 18:39 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand news,Shelter homes,Girls
Five girls managed to escape from Kedarpuram-based Balika Niketan children’s home in Dehradun.(HT Photo )

Barely a month after staff of a children’s home in Dehradun was booked for alleged negligence, the government-run shelter homes have once again come under scanner after five girls managed to escape from such a facility in Kedarpuram on Saturday night.

Though the girls were rescued a few hours later, the question is - how did they manage to escape from the facility that claims to have a tight security?

The incident puts yet another question mark on the state-run shelter homes which have had several brushes with controversies in the past.

According to police, five girls - aged between 10 to 15 years - managed to escape from Balika Niketan children’s home, apparently with full planning as they’d taken along their warm clothes and blankets with them.

Ironically, no one is allowed to leave or visit the shelter home without the district magistrate’s permission, so how could the girls leave without the security staff that includes three home guards being alarmed?

As they ventured into a nearby colony, locals surrounded them after mistaking them for thieves, but were shocked to know the truth.

“We got a call from the locals informing us that they had held the girls who ran away from the shelter home. We also got a call from the shelter home (reporting the incident to the police),” Rajesh Sah, in-charge of Nehru Colony police station (under whose jurisdiction the shelter home falls), told HT.

“We immediately rushed to the spot and later handed over the girls to the shelter home,” said Sah, adding that police would begin interrogation into the case on Monday.

The children’s home in Dehradun comprises two wings - Shishu Sadan (for children from 0-10 years of age) and Balika Niketan (for girls from 11-18 years of age), which are running on the same campus as that of the Nari Niketan (women’s shelter home) -- all of which have hit headlines for the wrong reasons over the past years.

Last month, Dehradun police booked seven caretakers and a former pharmacist of the Shishu Sadan on charges of negligence in duty which allegedly led to death of two kids in 2016 and disability of another in 2014.

They were booked based on a departmental probe report by the social welfare department. Prior to that, the case of sexual abuse and forced abortion of a hearing and speech impaired inmate at Nari Niketan had created ripples in November 2015.

In December 2015, two inmates of the women’s shelter home died, reportedly due to malnutrition and lack of medical care and nutrition, while several others were hospitalised.

When contacted, Meena Bisht, Dehradun district probation officer (who is in charge of the shelter homes), said reasons behind the security lapse were being identified, after which due action will be taken in the case.

“Senior officials inspected the shelter home (on Sunday). Reasons for the incident are being looked into after which measures will be taken to ensure that such an incident does not recur,” she told HT, adding that action would be taken against those found guilty of negligence.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 18:39 IST