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Rape victim of Gurgaon child care centre reveals ordeal during counselling

The victim used to be a fun loving child but after the alleged sexual abuse, she went into a shell and had been largely reserved.

gurgaon Updated: Sep 05, 2017 22:19 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Child Care Institute,Child Welfare Committee,Child Right
Ujwal Niketan Child Care Institute during the counselling with child welfare committee chair person Shakuntala Dhull.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

A 13-year-old class 5 student, who is alleged to have been sexually abused by the staff at the Ujwal Niketan, a Child Care Institute (CCI), several times during last one year revealed her ordeal during counselling to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) officials on Tuesday.

The victim and her seven-year-old brother were brought to the CCI at Sector 4 in year 2014. Their mother left them at the child care centre as their father was unable to take care of them.

The 65-year-old caretaker of the centre, Sister Lilly Baretto, was arrested on Sunday night from a church in Sukhdev Vihar, Delhi on charges of handing over children under her custody for adoption against the norms. She is also accused of child trafficking and was booked under relevant sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Indian Penal Code.

According to the inmates, the victim used to be a fun loving child but after the alleged sexual abuse, she went into a shell and had been largely reserved.

On Tuesday, while she was being counselled, she requested the CWC chairperson to shift her to another CCI saying other inmates of the centre were harassing her for raising her voice against Sister Baretto.

“I have been asked not to reveal anything during the session. The girls who are close to Sister have threatened me and told me that she will take revenge for putting her driver behind the bars,” the victim said. The driver Madan was arrested in mid-July by the Sector 10 police.

The victim said she was under immense pressure and was not ready to speak in front of other girl inmates. Sources said the moment she was taken to the counselling room, she revealed that many other girl inmates were victims of sexual abuse but were not disclosing the truth.

“She cried and revealed that she was tortured for revealing the sexual abuse and torture at the centre. She said other girl inmates, who were close to Sister Lily and were among her favourites, assaulted her and isolated her from fellow inmates for raising her voice against their Didi (Baretto),” Shakuntala Dhull, chairperson, CWC, said.

The victim, who was not aware of Baretto’s arrest, was relieved at the news.

“If Didi comes out (of jail), she will kill me. When I was coming for counselling today, the girls told me to deny the rape allegation and asked me to keep quiet. I was scared to come here, as I thought even didi will be here and will beat me for opening my mouth,” the victim said.

“She has also told us that several men visited the CCI and sexually abused other girls as well. When they complained to Sister Lily, she used to assault them and even threaten them with rape. Many girls had refused to get their medical examination done at the hospital. Since the accused is arrested, we will get their medical tests done as it would help us in our investigation,” Dhull said.

The three-member observation committee was formed in February by the high court. It comprises Suruchi Atreja, chairperson, Arun Shokeen, member, Panel Advocate DLSA- district legal services authority and Nisha Saini, legal probation officer, district child protection unit.

The committee members visited Ujwal Niketan CCI for routine inspection after receiving a complaint on cruelty to child inmates and missing children and also found irregularities with regard to adoption of children at the centre.

The victim was shifted to another CCI after her counselling session on Tuesday evening.

Seven children, including two girls of the centre, were counselled on Tuesday. They also alleged that they were brutally assaulted when they tried to complain about the torture.

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 22:19 IST