New Delhi: Deoria’s shelter home named Maa Vindhyavasini Mahila and Balika Sanrakshan Griha, was just another crumbling building for localites. But after police rescued 24 girls from the two-storey building on Monday amid allegations of a sex racket thriving on the premises, the home and its managing couple became the subject of discussion all over the country.
Their neighbors told Hindustan Times that they had no doubts about this place because police would often drop off minor girls at the home. Mridul Pandey, teacher at a Government School, who lives near this building, said that since the police often went there, it was difficult to believe that such a thing was happening inside.
“Shelter Home’s Operator Girija and Mohan Tripathi lived in a mysterious way. But, after registering NGOs and opening Shelter Home eight years ago, the fate of this couple changed rapidly. Girija Tripathi, who used to run the stitching and embroidery center, bought property and flats in the same area and they became rich overnight,” said a grocery shop owner.
The home is located near the railway station on a busy road lined with eateries and hotels that are bustling all day. But a smaller gate of the building opens into a deserted road where locals said cars would often be parked.
“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.
“Every other day, a swanky car could be seen stationed outside but we thought she had a good image and so people would visit her, “ said local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Ashish Gupta.
Girija and her husband, Mohan, were among five people arrested after a 10-year-old girl escaped the shelter home on Sunday night by scaling the boundary wall and told the police about the alleged sexual exploitation of residents of the home.
Girija has denied all charges and said she was being targeted for demanding pending payments from officials. The government has ordered a two-member inquiry and has suspended the district magistrate. The shelter Home has been sealed after this sensational case. The police has arrested the accused manager. On Monday, CM Yogi Adityanath suspended the District Magistrate Sujit Kumar.