With each passing day, the police investigation is revealing horrific details of what went inside the shelter home in Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria. Witness statements have reportedly revealed that the victims were drugged before they were sent to ‘powerful guests’ so that they don’t feel the pain.
Atrocities against girls at Deoria shelter home
The Times Of India reported that these statements were recorded by UP Police women’s cell on August 6 and then by the Deoria police the next day. The scandal at Maa Vindyavasini Mahila and Balika Sanrakshan Griha shelter home run by Girija Tripathi broke out on August 5 after a girl who escaped from the facility informed the police of suspicious activities inside the shelter home. Deoria police had rescued at least 24 girls from the shelter home and also arrested the couple who ran the facility.
Reportedly, she had then revealed to the police that girls above 15 years of age would be picked up in cars only to return the next day. The girls would return to the facility crying. Besides sexual exploitation, the girls were also subjected to physical abuse in the form of corporal punishment for not performing household chores.
Forced to marry
After the Allahabad high court took suo moto cognisance of the atrocities against the girls, the UP police formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT). Moreover, UP police have found that nine girls from the shelter home were forced to marry older, specially abled men. A Times Of India report said that funds from UP chief minister’s mass marriage scheme were also used during these marriages that took place between 2017 to 2018.
The Times Of India accessed the charge sheet which was filed by the SIT and submitted to the Allahabad High Court. Reportedly, one of the nine girls was married off to a blind man in exchange of a large sum of money which was given to Girija. She even took Rs 5,000 of the Rs 35,000 subsidy per wedding, which is a state government scheme under the women and child welfare department.
Of the Rs 35,000, utensils and sundries worth Rs 10,000 were never provided to the girl, found the SIT. At least three other girls were married off under the scheme while violating the state laws pertaining to more than one marriage. Reportedly, the SIT has charged Tripathi with criminal breach of trust and siphoning state funds in addition to human trafficking and criminal conspiracy.
A Muzaffarpur shelter rerun
In July 2018, it was revealed that 34 girls who were in a state-run shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur were subjected to continued rape, torture and assault by the staff of the shelter home. One victim, who was rescued, claimed that most of the girls who were residing there were raped by the journalist Brajesh Thakur, along with Vineet Kumar, a member of a child welfare committee, who ran the NGO.
Reportedly, it has also been revealed that Thakur was getting 40 lakhs per annum from the state government to run the shelter. He was given a tender to run an old age home and a Juvenile home as well. An NGO ran the ‘Balika Grih’ shelter home called Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. As per reports, Brajesh was given the tender to run the shelter home by the state Social Welfare Department.
Also Read: UP: 24 Out Of 42 Girls Rescued From Shelter Home Run By Elderly Couple; Rest All Missing