Bombay HC-slams cops for insensitive report- Shelter Home Horror #Rape #Vaw


Mankhurd shelter home horror

Appoints a three-member committee for a fresh probe into allegations of negligence, sexual abuse and torture

Yogesh Sadhwani

Posted On Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A week after Mumbai Mirror reported on allegations of rape, negligence and torture at the state-run shelter for women, Navjeevan Mahila Vasti Gruh, Bombay High Court disapproved the probe report submitted by deputy commissioner of police, Crime Branch, on grounds that it lacked sensitivity.

DCP Ambadas Pote, in his report, denied allegations made by an inmate of the Mankhurd home, in the interview carried by Mumbai Mirror on October 29.

Expressing surprise at the report, HC has now appointed a three-member panel to probe the allegations afresh.

The panel comprises Dr Asha Bajpai from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, renowned counsellor Dr Harish Shetty, and Rashmi Karandikar, superintendent of police.

In his report, Pote stated that his Special Investigating Team recorded statements of around 100 persons, including staff, inmates, social workers who routinely visit the home, and police personnel, and that none of them mentioned sexual abuse. He also stated that the inmates were given adequate food and were well taken care of.

Pote’s report was filed in HC, which is hearing a suo moto PIL after receiving an email from activist Purnima Upadhyay, who feared for the safety of women after reading the interview of an inmate who had escaped on October 27.

While government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade claimed that no such incidents occurred at the home, advocate Shubhada Khot, the amicus curie, pointed out several flaws in investigation.

The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar said that the investigation was carried out in an insensitive manner. “Where are the women now? Are they still under the same caretakers?” asked HC. When informed that the women were indeed under the same caretakers, HC said, “Tell us, what action are you taking against the caretakers referred to by the woman?”

The bench stated that the police officer merely looked at the specific allegation of “armed men barging into the home, randomly picking up girls and raping them at knife-point”. The court pointed out that the video-taped interview revealed that rowdy elements would visit the premises and on their request woman caretakers would ask inmates to go out with them. Those who dared refuse, were tortured.

“What does this mean, what more you want?” the judges asked Nalavade, expressing surprise that no FIR was registered. “One statement of one witness is sufficient to lodge an FIR, this statement contains more than sufficient material.”

Further pointing out that “apparently many wrong things are going on there” HC stated that the “State authority should have appointed a sensitive person to investigate such a case”.

Meanwhile, in his affidavit, Ujjwal Uke, principal secretary, Women and Child Development Department, admitted that with a capacity for 100, the home which had 298 inmates, was overcrowded. He admitted that around 100 women continue to languish there despite release orders, due to lack of escorts to send them home.

The next hearing is on November 26.

 

#Mumbai High Court orders probe – Armed men would come, pick women and rape them #VAW


Hours after Mumbai Mirror report…

CM, High Court order probe into horror ‘shelter’

Crime Branch to investigate allegations of rape at Mankhurd women’s home, HC serves notices to state welfare department, police chief

 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


Starved, herded and assaulted at State-run ‘shelter’
‘Armed men would come, pick women and rape them…’
BY- Yogesh Sadhwani @timesgroup.com,  MM, Oct 29,2012

On Saturday, around 60 women housed in the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh in Mankhurd, a staterun shelter for women rescued under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, tried to escape after a fight with the caretakers. Of the 36 who scaled the compound wall, 13 were caught while 23 are still at large.
One of them is a 24-year-old from Kolkata (who is not being named to protect her identity) who came to Mumbai four years ago to earn a living. She has a six-yearold son who stays with her parents back home. She was working as a waitress at a city orchestra bar when the police nabbed her in a raid in May this year after which she was sent to the protective home. Mumbai Mirror traced her through a friend who gave her shelter immediately after her escape. In this meeting at a restaurant in a central suburb on Saturday, she spoke about the horrors she lived through at the home.
Iused to work as a waitress in a bar. In May, the police raided the place and nabbed three of us. They took us to the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh from the police station. On the very first day we realised that the place was hell on earth. Living conditions were pathetic, food was never enough, and the place was overcrowded.
But all that seemed trivial in front of what we witnessed next. Late one night, a group of six to seven drunken men armed with knivesandchoppersbargedintothehome. They randomly picked up a few girls who were sleeping and started kicking them. They then raped the girls. We were all too scared to intervene.
When the girls who were raped told the caretakers the next day, they just shrugged it off like nothing had happened. In the past four months, I have personally witnessed at least half-a-dozen such incidents. Those who are picked have to suffer while the rest just huddle up in one corner and dare not create a fuss.
The boundary wall of the home is porous and men walk inside as they please. The woman constables and a lone male guard posted at the home sit near the main gate. Even if the girls who get picked up in the night cry for help nobody comes to their rescue.
Most nights, we would stay awake through the night fearing that men would walk in and pick us. Not long ago one such group assaulted two girls. When the girls protested they were brutally beaten and then raped. One of the girls was so disturbed after the incident that she started wandering around the house naked. A couple of weeks later, the authorities called her parents and let her go as she had become a liability.
There are over 350 girls in the home at any given time. Recently a large group of girls rescued from a brothel in Grant Road (Simplex)werebroughthere.Theplacewas swarming with women. Of the two toilets in the home, only one is open. The other has been locked ever since a girl committed suicide in it a couple of months ago. Just one toilet for more than 350 women…
The food was equally pathetic. They gave us small portions of dried and stale vegetables for breakfast. Lunch was unheard of. For dinner we got watery dal and rice. If we asked for chapattis we were abused. The ‘kitchen mummy’ would often force us to work for hours without a break. Those who refused to work were beaten with pans.
After a few weeks of torture I realised that there was no point complaining. I just continued to suffer. In the meanwhile, two ofmyfriendswhowererescuedwithmedeveloped severe medical complications — one of them was bedridden and could barely swallow any food or water. Despite repeated pleas for medical help, the authorities never called a doctor or shifted my friends to a hospital.
On Friday night, another group of men armed with knives barged in as usual. They picked up four women and raped them. On Saturday morning, some of the girls decidedenoughwasenoughanddemandedthat the authorities increase security at the home. We told the chief caretaker about the incident. Instead of giving us a patient hearing she said there was little she could do. One thing led to another and in no time we started complaining about food and living conditions. After a while the argument got out of hand.
Just then we realised that the women constables and the lone male guard had come over to the caretaker’s office to check onthecommotion.Wespottedanopening in the fencing above the compound wall and made a run for it. I just ran out on to the main road and got into an auto-rickshaw. Only when I was far away did I ask the autodriver for a phone to call a friend for help.
I will never ever go back to that place. I would rather die than go back there.
This interview was conducted in Hindi

‘We’ve heard about these incidents, but there’s little we can do’

Members of State’s committee to look into conditions at welfare homes say they’ve got little power, no directions

Members of a recently formed special committee to look into conditions at the staterun shelters admitted that though they often hear about inmates being sexually abused and forced to live in sub-human living conditions, there is nothing they can do to address the problem.
There are around 30 such homes in the state that come under the Women and Child Development Department. Living conditions and security in these homes are largely sub-standard and the state has been struggling to address the issue.
Vidya Chavan, Member of Legislative Council and state president, women’s wing, NCP, who is a member of the special committee formed by the Women and Child Development Department to look into the conditions in these homes, said the department doesn’t act despite the repeated occurrence of such incidents.
Aides of Varsha Gaikwad, Minister for Women and Child Development, said the minister was on a break with her family. Repeated calls and text messages to Dr GD Pawar, officer on special duty to the minister, too went unanswered.
When we tried contacting the superintendent of the Mankhurd home, Ashwini Dighe, we were denied entry by policemen outside the home. Repeated calls to the landline numbers of the superintendent’s office went unanswered.
“The department, especially the minister, doesn’t seem to take the issue seriously,” said Chavan. “In the past, we inspected some homes and even gave recommendations to the department. But nothing has changed. I will now take up the issue with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.”
Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC, who is also a member of the special committee, said the committee has not been given a clear idea about its mandate.
“The recently formed special committee is expected to inspect each and every home in the state and suggest measures to improve them,” she said. “The sad part is that we are yet to get a clear idea as to what our role is and how muchwecanintervene.Despiterepeated letters to the Women and Child Development Department, I am yet to get anyclarityontheissue.Iwillraisetheissue in the Legislature.”
Qaiser Khalid, additional commissioner of police, central region, said the scope of the police investigation is limited to the complaint filed by the officials at the home.
“The complaint says some women escaped and assaulted their staff,” he said “The home is maintained by the Women and Child Welfare Department and they have to look into any issue pertaining to the running of the home. However, if during the course of our investigation we find that there are certain problems because of which the women ran away we will certainly initiate action.”

 

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,228 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,839,235 hits

Archives

April 2021
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
%d bloggers like this: