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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Kolkata gang rape: NCW member says shelter broke rules, should be shut down

The victim, who is partially mentally challenged, had moved into the facility three days before the incident. The septuagenarian mother of the victim, who also lived in the same shelter, died on Thursday evening. No arrest was made till Friday night

india Updated: Nov 16, 2019 02:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
A 38-year old mentally challenged woman was allegedly gang raped in Kolkata on Tuesday morning.
A 38-year old mentally challenged woman was allegedly gang raped in Kolkata on Tuesday morning. (HT Photo/Representative)
         

National Commission for Women (NCW) member Chandramukhi Devi said the Kolkata shelter housing the mentally-challenged gang rape victim was unsafe should be shutdown for flouting of rules. Chandramukhi was in Kolkata on Friday to investigate the early Tuesday morning shocker.

The 38-year-old victim, who walked out unchecked from the Seba Old Age Home in the Panchasayar area on Monday night, was allegedly abducted and gang raped. There was no security at the old-age home to prevent her from going out at an unsafe hour. The woman was raped first inside a car and then on a desolate field in the southern outskirts of Kolkata before being thrown off the running vehicle.

The victim, who is partially mentally challenged, had moved into the facility three days before the incident. The septuagenarian mother of the victim, who also lived in the same shelter, died on Thursday evening. No arrest was made till Friday night.

“I visited the home and also met the police. While the role of the police has been satisfactory, the home is in absolute disarray and needs to be closed down,” said Chandramukhi Devi.

Seba Old Age Home is supposed to only house the elderly but also kept mentally and physically challenged persons. The NCW registered a suo motu complaint on Wednesday and formed an inquiry panel headed by Chandramukhi Devi.

Chandramukhi Devi visited the shelter and said the facility was operating without permission and in violation of all norms.

“I spoke to the owner of the home and it has become evident that the shelter is being run with purpose of business and not social service. This cannot be allowed to continue,” she said.

Hare Krishna Mandal, the owner of the facility, refused to comment. He also refused to divulge the number of inmates living at the home.

The victim had told police that she was forced into a car by two men when she was walking along the road in the dead of the night. She said they raped her in the car and took her to a desolate field. After the crime, she was carried to a location near Sonarpur railway station and thrown off the running car, the woman alleged.

The police said their probe had revealed use of two cars by the alleged rapists. They added that the woman left the shelter after 10 pm and not 2 am as previously claimed by the home staff.

“The victim also did not break the lock as was claimed by the home staff. She used the key. A woman staff member of the home is being interrogated,” a police officer involved in the investigation said on condition of anonymity.

Officers at Panchasayar police station said they were studying footage from security cameras installed in the area. There are no security cameras inside the home.