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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Five flee Rajpura SOS children’s home, allege ill-treatment

After leaving the village, one of the children went to his aunt’s home and told her that he, along with four others, had fled the village.

punjab Updated: Sep 13, 2018 09:34 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
(Representative image )

Five minor inmates of SOS Children’s Village at Rajpura, 25km from Patiala, have alleged ill-treatment, including sexual exploitation, at the shelter home. The inmates, including two girls, fled the village on Wednesday to make the accusations.

After leaving the village, one of the children went to his aunt’s home and told her that he, along with four others, had fled the village. He told her that four others were waiting at the Rajpura railway station and planning to board a train to Amritsar.

The woman brought all of them to her house and lodged a complaint at ‘181’ helpline number. The aunt said they had reported the matter to the authorities concerned multiple times but no action was taken.

In her complaint, a 16-year-old girl stated that they were allegedly being tortured, both sexually and mentally, by one of the adult inhabitants at the village. “Even other children are being forced to do mopping and sweeping,” she alleged.

Meanwhile, newly appointed director of the SOS village, Anoop Singh, said the allegations are baseless. “I don’t know about the basis of these allegations. We have such a refined system and anyone can visit the village to see the atmosphere and arrangements made for the safety of the children,” the director said.

Rajpura’s DSP KK Panthay said the Anoop Singh informed police around 12:15pm about the ‘missing children’. “We were informed that the children had gone to their respective schools and came back to the village. They again left the village for examination preparations at schools,” the DSP said.

Kids with child protection department

In a late reaction, the police traced the children at around 8pm and handed them over to the officials of child protection and welfare department.

“Even the sub-divisional magistrate has been informed about the incident so that their statements can be recorded accordingly,” the DSP said.

It may be mentioned that last week, a team from the women and child development department had conducted a surprise visit at the village. On the basis of children’s complaints of ill-treatment and mental torture, the department suspended village’s superintendent Jasbir Kaur.

The SOS village, which was set up in 1996 in Rajpura, has about 200 children.