Three SOS children’s home inmates shifted, two handed over to their kin
Five kids had on Wednesday morning escaped from the shelter home, but were traced by the evening and handed over to the child protection and welfare department.punjab Updated: Sep 14, 2018 12:57 IST
A day after five minor inmates of SOS Children’s Village at Rajpura, 25km from Patiala, alleged ill-treatment, including sexual exploitation, at the shelter home, three of the inmates have been shifted to another children home in the state, while the custody of two was handed over to their relatives.
The decision has been made after recording statements of the children on Thursday.
Five kids had on Wednesday morning escaped from the shelter home, but were traced by the evening and handed over to the child protection and welfare department.
Deputy commissioner Kumar Amit said, “An inquiry has already been initiated and Rajpura’s sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and district child protection officer (DCPO) are directed to investigate the matter.”
“The department concerned is looking minutely as the issue is related to the children safety,” the DC added.
Child protection officer Harpreet Kaur Sandhu said they have recorded the statements of the children and senior functionaries of the centre.
“In their written statements before the child welfare committee, the inmates did not mention any kind of ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, meted out to them at the village,” Sandhu said.
However, she added that taking serious note of the children’s safety, they decided to shift three of the inmates, including 16-year-old, to other shelter home.
“Custody of two of them has been handed over to their relatives after the latter showed willingness to take their wards along with them,” Sandhu said.
Meanwhile, Rajpura SDM Shiv Kumar paid a surprise visit to the SOS Children’s Village and interacted with the inmates.
“Senior functionaries of the centre were in Patiala, but during the interaction, none of the inmate complained about the ill-treatment,” the SDM said.
On Wednesday, in the complaint made on ‘181’ helpline number, one girl among those five children had alleged that they were being “tortured, both sexually and mentally, by one of the adult person at the village”.
It was alleged that other children were also being forced to do domestic chores, including mopping and sweeping.
A woman, whose nephew is among the inmates, also claimed that the inmates were being put under pressure by the administrative staff.
“The district administration should conduct minute investigation into the matter so that the truth can be unfolded,” she added.
The SOS Children’s Village, which was set up in 1996 in Rajpura, has at least 200 children under the age of 14 years living there.
First Published: Sep 14, 2018 12:55 IST