Probe confirms sexual exploitation of Deoria shelter home inmates
Uttar Pradesh women and child welfare minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Tuesday said preliminary investigation into the Deoria shelter home case confirmed sexual exploitation of inmates.
Addressing media persons, the minister said besides medical examination, the statements of 23 girls had been recorded and the documents of the shelter home had been seized.
Five people, including the manager of Maa Vindhyavasini Mahila and Balika Sanrakshan Griha, Girija Tripathi and her husband Mohan Tripathi, were arrested in Deoria late on Sunday night for allegedly forcing women inmates into flesh trade.
The incident came to light after a 10-year-old inmate managed to escape from the shelter home and narrated the ordeal to the police.
“The 10-year-old girl who escaped from the shelter home has told the police about the sex ring that was being run from the shelter home. The district administration has committed negligence in taking action against the management of the shelter home,” Joshi said.
She said strict action would be taken against the officials involved in the ring. “Police have been directed to find out the girls missing from the shelter home,” she said.
Hitting out at Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP), Joshi said the two parties granted permission to unscrupulous NGOs to run shelter homes when they were in power.
Girija Tripathi’s NGO was granted recognition to run the shelter home in 2010 when the BSP was in power. “During the SP government, the NGO was given permission to run child protection home, adoption centre, reform centre and women protection home as well,” she noted.
She alleged that the SP and the BSP governments had appointed people with dubious credentials as members of the district child welfare committees in all the 75 districts.
Action against 70 people
“The state government has decided to take action against 70 people who were involved in irregularities. Pratibha Srivastava, an employee of Maa Vindhyavasani Mahila and Balika Sanraksham Grih, was also appointed a member of Deoria child welfare committee,” Joshi said.
Later, the NGO also got permission to run Sachal Palna Griha Scheme for children of labourers hired under the MNREGA project, the minister said, adding that a PIL petition was filed in 2014 at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court alleging misappropriation of funds in Sachal Palna Grih Scheme.
“In an order on May 30, 2017, the high court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe into the scheme. The central government had released Rs 1,100 crore for the scheme,” she said.
During investigation, CBI found that the NGO had committed financial irregularities after which the women and child welfare department stopped financial aid to it.
In June 2017, the recognition of 21 NGOs, including Maa Vindhyavasani Mahila and Balika Sanraksham Grih, which were running Sachal Palna Grih Scheme, was cancelled.
“The NGOs were directed to close shelter homes and letters were sent to the district magistrate and the district probation officer to transfer the shelter home inmates to another accommodation but the district administration did not take action,” Joshi said.
“Strict action will be taken against the officers found hand in glove with the tainted NGO,” she said.
Joshi said the state government was planning to set up shelter homes at divisional headquarters rather than in districts so that their working could be properly monitored.
“The BJP government has floated tender for shelter homes. Accredited NGOs that have experience in operating various social schemes are being given preference. The state government has received 150 applications and five top NGOs have been granted permission,” she said.