Differently-abled girls shown obscene videos, raped repeatedly in Bhopal by hostel director

Bhopal: The director of a city-based private hostel for speech and hearing impaired girls in Awadhpuri has been booked for raping a 20-year-old tribal girl, and also for sexually assaulting two other tribal girls, from Dhar district for one year. Two of the three survivors were minors when the sexual atrocities started against them.

While the rape case against the accused identified as Ashwani Sharma, 45, was registered at Kotwali police station in Dhar following the complaint of the 20-year-old survivor on Wednesday, the molestation and assault case was registered at Heera Nagar police station in Indore on Thursday evening, following the complaint of the other two girls.

The case diary of rape case has been transferred to Awadhpuri police station since the hostel was situated in the locality. The police have arrested the accused and he has been taken to Dhar for identification.
The survivor, told police through her interpreters, that the accused also raped her friend, who lived in the same hostel.

What happened?

The four tribal girls all speech and hearing impaired hailing from a different villages of Dhar secured admission in Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Bhopal, in July 2016 after completing high school from Ujjain.
When they reached Bhopal, they were placed in the private hostel. The lodging and boarding for them was reportedly free of cost. Later in September 2017, they were shifted to a separate hostel in Crystal Ideal City in Awadhpuri, where the horror started.

How incident came to light

Two of the four girls recently went to Indore to meet Monika Purohit and Gyanendra Purohit, who run an institution to help speech and hearing impaired people, for career guidance.

During discussions, they spoke to Monika about the hostel director’s sexual assaults.

The girl’s brother reached Bhopal on August 5 & took her to Indore on August 6.

High-profile connections

  • Police sources said the accused knows several senior bureaucrats. He has also been seen meeting some ministers of the state govt.
  • They told me they managed to escape, but Sharma had kept another girl hostage and was raping her,’ Monika Purohit told DB Post over phone.
  • The girl narrated her ordeal to Monika after she counselled her. She was then taken to Dhar, where a complaint was lodged.
  • She then approached the family members of the girl held hostage as well as DIG Bhopal, Dharmendra Choudhary.
  • Monika said that one more girl has come forward and wants to lodge a complaint against Sharma.

The horror story…

“He (accused) first touched me inappropriately on the Diwali (October 19, 2017). When I objected, he slapped and threatened me to kill me if I informed anybody.

“From that day, he started molesting me and my friends and used to beat us, when we objected to his advances. He showed us obscene videos and asked us to act like the women in the videos.

“On the night of December 24, 2017, he dragged me to a separate room of the hostel. When my friends objected, he slapped them. He told them that it is my punishment for making a mistake. He raped me there. Since then, he raped me on many occasions, the last, on August 2. He didn’t allow me to go my village to meet my parents for several months.” (As the 20-year-old survivor told her interpreters)

Minister, cops promise action

“The matter is very serious. I sought a report from commissioner (disabilities) and came to know that no such hostel received a grant from the social justice department. Only one girl was given scholarship. However, I have ordered an in-depth probe, and we would take suitable action.” — Gopal Bhargava, minister, social justice & welfare department

“All girls living in the hostel will be counselled with the help of experts. More cases will be registered against the accused if more victims come forward.” — Makrand Deuskar, IG, law and order

“I have spoken to ITI administration. Safety of students living in the hostel will be ensured.” — Sudam Khade, collector, Bhopal

“The accused has been arrested and is being interrogated. The accused is running two shelter homes one for boys and the other for girls. As of now, no students were found living in the hostels. Two girls left the hostel two days ago and reached their homes. We will talk to all girls who stayed there and action will be taken.” —Dharmendra Choudhary, DIG, Bhopal