India

24 girls rescued from illegal shelter in UP’s Deoria district

The couple who ran the shelter along with their daughter have been arrested.

New Delhi: After the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case brought to light some gory and gruesome details in Bihar, another similar case has been unearthed in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. Twenty four girls have been rescued from a women’s shelter in Deoria district amid allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

While fifteen girls are still missing, the couple who ran the place called Maa Vindhyavasini shelter home have been arrested. The matter came to light when a 10-year-old girl managed to escape from the shelter and tell the police that “red, white, black cars picked girls at night and dropped them in the morning”.

After this, the police raided the shelter on Sunday night arrested Girija Tripathi, her husband Mohan Tripathi and their daughter. The shelter was sealed.

The girls have been sent for medical examination and their statements will be recorded before a magistrate, said Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anand Kumar. “The Women and Child Development Department is also coordinating. The inquiry will be done under proper legal procedure,” he said, reported NDTV.

The privately run shelter, about 300 km from Lucknow, used to received funds from the government, but its affiliation was cancelled in 2017 following a nationwide enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which found irregularities in its functioning.

But the couple continued to run it without necessary permission, and when a police team went to inspect the shelter recently, the duo turned them away. A First Information Report or an FIR was filed against them.

The girl who ran away from the shelter, with the localss help went to the police station and narrated the residents’ ordeal, all between the ages of 15 and 18. She alleged that the girls being forced to engage in sexual activities and work as servants by the couple.

“The girl who escaped had been staying at the home for the last three years. She said they treated her like a servant. She also told us many girls were taken away in cars at night. They returned in the morning and cried through the day. Adoptions were also happening in an illegal manner here. We are looking into it and searching for the missing girls,” Superintendent of Police Rohan P Kanay.

Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Women and Child Welfare Minister of Uttar Pradesh, clarified that the shelter was completely illegal. “After the CBI investigation, legal notice was sent to the sansthan for its closure and its accreditation was also cancelled. The case is pending in high court. About two weeks ago, an FIR was filed and the administration directed the sansthan to transfer the girls to state-run shelters. Strict action will be taken against the couple,” she said.

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday transferred the district magistrate of Deoria following reports of an alleged sex racket being run at a shelter home for women in the district, an official said.

Declaring that there was a complete “jungle raj” in BJP-ruled states, BSP chief Mayawati said that there should be no cover-up of the incidents of alleged sexual exploitation reported from shelter homes in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur town and Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria district.

(With agency inputs)

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