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10 young women refuse to move out of Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters

The women refused to accompany the child protection unit officials after more than three-hour discussion at the dera complex.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2017 09:35 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Sirsa
Dera Sacha Sauda,Dera headquarters,Shahi betiyan
The entrance to the place where ‘shahi betiyan’ were lodged in the dera. (HT Photo)

An eerie silence prevailed at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters on Wednesday when counsellors of the district child protection unit asked 10 young women in the dera whether they wanted to start a new life outside.

“No,” pat replied the women after a brief pause. They refused to accompany the child protection unit officials after more than three-hour discussion at the dera complex.

The team of officials led by Sirsa sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Paramjit Singh Chahal has so far rescued 53 children, including 19 girls, in the past one week with a 17-year-old girl having come out Tuesday night.

Among the adult girls include Guruansh Insan, a state-level rifle shooter, who was brought up at the dera since she was an infant, dera sources said. A handful of the rescued minor girls were a part of the dera’s roller hockey team.

Guruansh Insan, a state-level rifle shooter, who refused to come out of the premises. (HT Photo)

Of them, seven girls are aged below five and have never seen their parents, with the youngest one being one-and-a-half-year-old. All the 19 girls reported healthy after their medical check-up and were sent to a childcare centre at Rai near Rohtak, while the 34 boys were taken to child care centre in Karnal, a department spokesperson said.

Two families from Rohtak and Jind took back their sons after nearly 10 years.

“The whereabouts of the parents of most of the girls are not known,” said district child protection officer Dr Gurpreet Kaur, who on the directions of the district administration has been visiting the dera to rescue the minors since August 24. “We took out the boys from the dera orphanage ‘Shahi Asra Ashram’ during the midnight hours of August 27-28 with the army’s help,” she said.

The girls, she said, were staying at the ‘Shahi Betiyan Basera’, adding that those girls above the age of 18 had signed an affidavit that they were not willing to accompany the rescue team. “It is our own will of freedom where to live,” stated a signed joint statement of the adult girls.

These ‘royal daughters and sons’ have studied or are studying at state-of-the-art MSG International School which is affiliated with the UK-based Cambridge School Board. These children had their meal cooked in ghee with every comfort enjoyed by the dera chief himself, the officials claimed.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 09:35 IST