District officials ignored 20 letters against illegally run Deoria shelter: UP minister
The Deoria shelter home, whose operators were arrested for allegedly running a sex racket, was functioning illegally for more than a year in connivance of district officials who ignored orders to take action against it,a senior state government official wishing anonymity has said.
State women and child welfare minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Monday said 20 letters were sent to the district administration and social welfare department to take action against the shelter home’s management and shift the children to a proper accommodation, but they were all ignored.
At least 24 inmates were rescued from the home on Sunday night following a police raid which found 18 others missing. The raid came after a 10-year-old girl escaped the home and narrated about sexual abuse and exploitation there.
Girija Tripathi, who ran the home, her husband Mohan Tripathi and their daughter were arrested after the raid.
The home’s licence was cancelled in June 2017 by the state’s women and child welfare department after large-scale irregularities were detected, the official said.
The district administration was directed to shift the children to a proper accommodation, but that was not done, the official said. The district child welfare committee which is supposed to check protection homes and ensure proper treatment of children too remained inactive, the official said.
Notices were also sent to the protection home management to hand over the children to the district administration but they too ignored the direction, she said. On July 30, the women and child welfare department lodged an FIR against the home’s management.
Again the district administration and police officers were told to take action against Girija Tripathi, manager of Maa Vindhyavasini Mahila and Balika Sanrakshan Griha, an NGO running the protection home, for not handing over the children to the local administration. Surprisingly, no action was taken against Tripathi, she said.
The revelation came after the national outrage over the sexual abuse of girls at a state-funded shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur prompted UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath to direct district magistrates to inspect all child and women protection homes.
However, the district magistrate of Deoria as well as of other districts did not inspect the homes or apprise the state government about the inspection, Joshi said, adding that the DMs have been directed to submit their reports immediately.
The minister also said that they were told that the managements of protection homes claimed to have gotten a court stay against the state government order, but that was found to be false.
“We are checking the facts. Strict action will be taken against the officers for allowing the protection home to operate even after the court rejected its petition,” she said.
Reacting to BSP chief Mayawati’s criticism of the state government, Joshi said during the BSP government, licences were given to NGOs to run the protection homes without verifying their credentials.