57 girls went missing from protection home in Agra, still not traced

It was in May 2017 that 57 girls went missing from a government protection home in Agra, according to a case registered with the police and a claim made by an NGO

lucknow Updated: Aug 09, 2018 14:18 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Girls missing,Shelter home,Sex racket
A non-government organisation, Guria, filed a petition in the Supreme Court in December 2017, seeking a special investigation into the case and recovery of girls.(Representative image )

It was in May 2017 that 57 girls went missing from a government protection home in Agra, according to a case registered with the police and a claim made by an NGO.

Over a year has passed but the missing girls have not been recovered as yet.

A non-government organisation, Guria, filed a petition in the Supreme Court in December 2017, seeking a special investigation into the case and recovery of girls.

After hearing the petition, the Supreme Court issued a notice to respondents in the case.

BACKGROUND

A rescue operation was conducted on May 1, 2016 in Meerganj red light area of Allahabad in the presence of police officers, magistrates, women police officers and other administrative officials. At least 48 people were arrested from the site and 135 girls and women were rescued.

“A case was registered at the Kotwali police station in Allahabad against 48 named accused,” said Ajeet Singh, president of Guria which got the raids conducted.

In view of security concerns and threats, an order was issued by the sub-divisional magistrate (Sadar) Allahabad for the transfer of 67 women and 37 children, rescued from Meerganj, to the government protection home in Agra.

GIRLS SOLD AGAIN?

The story took a turn when the office-bearers of Guria came to know that 57 girls from Agra protection home had gone missing.

“I highlighted the matter on May 29, 2017, by sending a letter to the chief minister, chief secretary, principal secretary (women and child welfare), principal secretary (home), and district magistrates of Agra and Allahabad. In the letter, I demanded legal action against the superintendent of Rajkiya Sanrakshan Griha (Mahila), Agra, Geeta Rakesh,” Singh said.

He added that the district probation officer submitted a detailed inquiry report to the government disclosing how in the past Geeta Rakesh had released many other women without any legal order from a competent authority.

FIR AGAINST PROTECTION HOME SUPERINTENDENT

After proper investigation into the matter following the orders of principal secretary, women and child welfare, Renuka Kumar, a case was registered against Geeta Rakesh and others at Agra’s Etmaddaula police station on June 1, 2017.

Geeta Rakesh was arrested and produced before the judicial magistrate after which she was sent to jail.

A police team was constituted which went to Allahabad for verification of the custodians and the addresses on which the women were released.

The team found that all the custodians and their addresses were fake and the women were not living on the given addresses.

A NEW TURN

But the matter took a new turn when the accused allegedly tried to influence the probe. Investigating officer BS Tyagi was transferred from Agra to Sitapur, said Ajeet Singh.

“I filed representations to withhold the transfer as the new investigating office Sanjay Kumar was Geeta Rakesh’s neighbour,” he said.

Taking cognizance of Ajit Singh’s letter dated 06.07.2017, the principal secretary, home, recommended to the director general of police that BS Tyagi be retained as the circle officer, Chatta, Agra, and the investigation officer of the case till the investigation was on, he said.

Despite these specific orders, Tyagi was transferred and the investigation was handed over to the new circle officer Sanjay Kumar, Ajeet Singh alleged.

Ajeet Singh accused the new investigating officer of siding with Geeta Rakesh and other alleged traffickers.

He claimed that Kumar filed a chargesheet only against Geeta Rakesh without making any effort to trace the re-trafficked victims and the guilty traffickers/brothel keepers.

As a result, no re-trafficked girl has been found till date, he said.

NGO MOVES SUPREME COURT

Ajeet Singh said, “Aggrieved by the act of the new investigating officer, who had submitted charge sheet only against the superintendent of Government Protection Home (Women) Agra without trying to trace re-trafficked victims, Guria filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court in December 2017.

The NGO prayed before the Supreme Court for directions to respondents for the formation of a Special Investigation Team to re-investigate the whole matter. The court issued a notice to the respondents.

EFFORTS ON TO TRACE GIRLS, SAY POLICE

Superintendent of police (SP), Agra, Prashant Verma said the superintendent of the shelter home had been arrested and a charge sheet had been filed in the case.

“Efforts are on to trace the missing girls. Police teams from Agra were sent to the addresses of girls mentioned in the records but it were found to be fake,” he said, after getting information from Itimad-ud-daula police station in Agra.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 14:18 IST