Odisha shelter home sealed, owner arrested over sexual abuse allegations by minor inmates
The owner of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)-run shelter home was arrested on Sunday following allegations of sexual abuse by the institute’s minor inmates, police officials familiar with the matter said.
The shelter home, which was being operated by NGO Good News India in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district, was sealed on Saturday, a day after a few of its female inmates accused the institute’s founder Fayaz Rehman and caretaker Simanchal Nayak of sexual harassment. Nayak and shelter home’s assistant director Udit Lima were arrested on Saturday.
The shelter home, housing 62 children, had been operating for the last two years without registration under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, district collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan said. The state’s women and child development minister,
Prafulla Samal had ordered the closure of all the 22 shelter homes run by Good News India in the state a day earlier.
“Stringent action will be taken against all the illegal shelter homes that are running in the state in violation of the Juvenile Justice Act in the name of giving protection and care to children. Measures have already been taken in this regard,” Samal said.
The Dhenkanal district administration shifted the inmates of the shelter home to an undisclosed location.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) targeted the state’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government over “failing to close down” a shelter home that was running without valid permits.
“State government officials are saying that the shelter home was running without its permission. The government should clarify if the shelter home was running illegally and they were aware of it, what action they took to close it,” party’s state secretary Lekhashri Samantasinghar said.