8 women, differently-abled minor go missing from government shelter in northeast Delhi
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8 women, differently-abled minor go missing from government shelter in northeast Delhi

Earlier, the child welfare committee (CWC) had filed complaint with the department of women and child development (WCD) alleging that the shelter’s superintendent had assaulted the minor. No action, however, was taken in the matter.

delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2018 10:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi,delhi govt shelter home,child welfare committee
The Delhi Commission for Women said it had received at least two complaints from CWC about irregularities in the functioning of the home and improper conduct by the superintendent of the shelter home.(HT File / Representative Image)

The Delhi government on Monday suspended two senior officials after eight women and a differently-abled minor girl were reported missing from a government-run shelter in northeast Delhi since Saturday night. The inmates were allegedly treated improperly at the shelter.

Earlier, the child welfare committee (CWC) had filed complaint with the department of women and child development (WCD) alleging that the shelter’s superintendent had assaulted the minor. No action, however, was taken in the matter.

According to police, except for the minor, all other missing inmates were aged between 18-20 years.

“The inmates were reportedly missing since Saturday night. We got a call regarding the incident around 8.30 am on Sunday. The lock of the terrace door was found broken,” said a senior police officer.

Shahdara DCP Meghna Yadav said that a case has been registered in the matter and an investigation is ongoing.

Most of those who are missing are either survivors of trafficking or sexual abuse. They were housed in the northeast Delhi shelter since May, on the orders of a court.

The government suspended the WCD district officer (northeast) and the shelter’s superintendent.

Trouble at homes
Last year, the deaths of 11 inmates in Asha Kiran, run by the social welfare department, brought the issue of shelter homes in focus. Over 600 deaths have been reported in the home since 2001.
According to the 2015 Comptroller and Auditor General report, the home is overcrowded with over 900 inmates living here against a capacity of 350.
Again, last year, at least 10 teenage girls in a state-run west Delhi shelter home have accused its staff of molestation, forcibly injecting them with unexplained drugs, and beating them into submission if they tried to resist or complain.
The ordeal at the shelter was exposed when a girl wrote to the Delhi Legal Services Authority about the human rights violations and torture.

While ordering the suspension, Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia said the WCD had failed in its duty to provide a safe and secure environment for the women and the minor who were placed under protection of the state.

In a letter to the Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev , he said that matter was “extremely serious” and raised “serious doubt” on the intention of the officers.

Despite multiple attempts, WCD officials and the superintendent could not be reached for comment.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), meanwhile, said that they had received at least two complaints from CWC about irregularities in the functioning of the home and improper conduct by the superintendent. The minor, it said, was severely abused.

“The minor girl with special needs was subjected to severe abuse and corporal punishment by the superintendent of the home. The CWC had given a complaint against the superintendent of allegedly beating up the girl. Also, the Commission had received another complaint saying that the superintendent had also beaten up several other girls,” read a DCW statement, adding that the CWC also wrote to the WCD regarding the matter but no action was taken.

Swati Maliwal, DCW chairperson, said, “We hope the case is transferred to the Crime Branch for a high-level investigation in the matter, as there are chances that the girls again fall prey to the menace of trafficking.”

Meanwhile, officials in the CWC said that there was a lack of sensitisation among the staff at the said shelter home and that even three years ago, four inmates had fled from the home.

“The staff needs to be sensitised towards the inmates. Besides, many women in the age group of 18-20 try to escape, as the restoration process is delayed. The process of tracing the victims’ families from other states and even other countries takes years. The committee had several times written to the department to strengthen the process of rehabilitation,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 09:16 IST