Indore- Accusations of appalling mistreatment have surfaced against an orphanage under Vijayanagar police station area in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh, alleging severe abuse of rescued minors. The facility is said to provide shelter to 21 children hailing from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh. Disturbingly, five women linked to the implicated establishment now face primary charges of inflicting cruelty on the children under the guise of disciplinary measures.
The 'Vatsalyapuram' orphanage was sealed by the district administration on January 12, citing illegal operations. Subsequently, 21 girls residing in the facility were relocated to the Government Child Protection Home and another institution. The girls, aged between 4 and 14 years, reportedly disclosed instances of severe mistreatment in the name of punishment to the members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
Simultaneously, the non-governmental organization overseeing the facility has vehemently contested the actions taken by the administration. Challenging the categorization of the facility as a children's home, they assert its identity as a hostel. The organization has initiated legal proceedings by filing a habeas corpus petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, questioning the administrative measures taken against them.
The Mooknayak spoke with a police officer who disclosed the appalling treatment that the girls endured at the shelter home. In the filed FIR on the night of January 17, it is alleged that a 4-year-old girl was subjected to physical abuse and confinement in a bathroom for several hours when she soiled her clothes. Shockingly, she was also deprived of food for a period of two days.
The FIR further accuses the orphanage of subjecting children to brutal acts, such as hanging them upside down and placing red chilies on a hot pan to produce smoke. Additionally, it is alleged that a child's hands were forcibly burned using hot tongs. Another disturbing incident involved stripping a girl in front of her peers, taking her to a furnace, and threatening to burn her.The authorities are now tasked with conducting a thorough investigation into these allegations to ensure justice for the victims and hold the responsible individuals accountable for their actions.
The age of the girls ranges from 4 to 14 years. The official stated that the rescued girls told the CWC members that they were inhumanly treated in the name of punishment.
Meanwhile, In the habeas corpus petition filed in the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the organization running "Vatsalyapuram," called "Vatsalyapuram Jain Welfare Society," claimed that it is not an orphanage but a hostel where children from economically weaker families are taken care of for an annual fee of only 5 rupees. They argued that the administration illegally sealed the facility and did not follow the proper legal procedures while transferring the children to other institutions.
The petition requests the court to hand over the children to the hostel administration or their parents in compliance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The organization's lawyer, Vibhor Khandelwal, asserted that the accusations in the primary charges filed against the organization's members are false and baseless.
Kirti Tomar, the Deputy Inspector General of Vijay Nagar Police Station, stated that five women associated with the alleged children's home have been named in the primary charges under the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice Act. The investigation into these allegations is currently at an initial stage, and no arrests have been made in this case so far.
Pallavi Porwal, the Chairperson of the Indore Child Welfare Committee (CWC), mentioned that the rescued children belong to Rajasthan and Gujarat. The CWC has written letters to the respective child welfare committees of these states, requesting them to investigate and provide reports on the social and economic backgrounds of these children so that their rehabilitation can be facilitated.