Hours after Mumbai Mirror report…
CM, High Court order probe into horror ‘shelter’
Yogesh Sadhwani, Mumbai Mirror
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday ordered the Mumbai Crime Branch to probe allegations of rape at the state-run protective shelter in Mankhurd following a Mumbai Mirror report. The Bombay High Court, too, took suo motu notice of the issue and directed various state agencies to respond by November 5.
A Mumbai Mirror report on Monday quoted an inmate of the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh, a protective shelter for women rescued under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, as saying that the women at the home were starved and often raped by outsiders.
The 24-year-old was one of the 23 women who escaped from the home on Saturday. “The chief minister has ordered a Crime Branch inquiry,” said Amitabh Rajan, additional chief secretary, home department. “I have asked Commissioner Satyapal Singh to investigate and get to the bottom of the case.
Another issue that has come up is the lack of proper supervision at the home.” Rajan said he has also asked Ujwal Uke, principal secretary, Women and Child Development Department, to conduct a thorough departmental inquiry.
The Crime Branch will handle the investigation in a sensitive manner so that the women at the home are encouraged to speak up fearlessly, Rajan assured.
Following the chief minister’s instructions, the Crime Branch has formed a special team, which has been asked to investigate the matter and report to Joint Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy within a week. “We have formed a special investigation team headed by the DCP, detection,” said Roy. “He will be assisted by a team that will include women police officers. They will begin their inquiry immediately and submit a report to me in a week’s time.”
By Monday afternoon, the Bombay High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case. Court officials told Mumbai Mirror that notices were sent to the Women and Child Welfare Department, city police commissioner, the Mankhurd home’s superintendent and also a High Court-appointed committee.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah will hear the Public Interest Litigation on November 5.
The Women and Child Welfare Department, which did not respond for the report on Sunday night despite repeated attempts, claimed on Monday that the woman quoted by Mumbai Mirror was lying about the conditions at the home.
“The Mumbai Mirror report about the state of the women’s home is based on lies,” a district women and child welfare officer said in a statement. “The report has mentioned that armed men often barge into the home and rape the women. No such incident has happened.
Regarding the conditions, the women in the home get food and tea twice a day, which is in accordance with government norms.”
The inmate, however, said any girl in the home would say the same thing she said as that was the reality. She said she was glad that her revelations led the chief minister and the High Court’s intervention.
“I am glad I was of some help to the other girls,” she said. “I was lucky to have escaped from that hell hole. I only hope that those who are still there get a better life and do not suffer any more.”
- #India #Mumbai- Armed men would come, pick women and rape them #VAW (kractivist.wordpress.com)