Bhopal- The 26 missing girls from a Bhopal shelter home were successfully located by the police on Saturday late evening. All the girls were safely rescued and verifications were held by the police. Meanwhile, Bhopal district collector suspended the WCD project officer, Komal Upadhyay, supervisor Manjusha Raj and former project officer Brijendra Pratap Singh, for failing to monitor the activities of the children’s home, Aanchal, run by one Anil Mathew. The issue surfaced when the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) conducted an inspection on Thursday in response to complaints regarding harassment and alleged forced conversions.
In an inspection at the behest of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the girls were found missing from the children's home located in the Parvaliya area of the city.
Taking immediate action, NCPCR wrote a letter to Chief Secretary Veena Rana and filed an FIR against the operators associated with the children's home. Following the rebuke from the commission, the police administration promptly launched a search for the missing girls. On Saturday evening, 10 girls were located in the Adampur Cantonment area, and another 13 were successfully recovered from the slums of Ayodhya Nagar. Two additional girls were found in Top Nagar, with one more discovered in Raisen. Thorough verification was conducted by the police, ensuring the safety of the girls, who have now been reunited with their families.
It was reported that a total of 26 girls had gone missing from this unauthorised shelter home, as it was operating without permission. In the Child Commission's investigation report, it was mentioned that a total of 68 girls were registered in the admission register, while only 41 girls were present physically at the time of inspection. According to the Commission, the girls' hostel was being run illegally without permission from the administration. .
As soon as the matter came to notice, Chief Minister Dr. Mohan Yadav directed officials on Saturday to take strict action against unauthorized and unapproved children shelter homes in the state. The CM gave these instructions in a meeting with senior officials through a video conference. CM Yadav directed officials to conduct regular inspections to ensure that no child protection home in Madhya Pradesh operates unsanctioned.
After the missing girls were located from the children's home, CM Mohan Yadav posted on his official account, stating, "The missing girls from the children's home operated in the Parvaliya police station area of Bhopal have been identified. All the daughters are safe and have also been accounted for. Not a single culprit or negligent person will be spared."
Upon learning about the illegal hostel operating under the guise of an NGO, Collector Kaushalendra Vikram Singh, IG Dehat Abhay Singh, along with SDM and the police force, promptly reached the site. A case has been registered against the hostel operator, Father Anil Mathew. Dr. Nivedita Sharma, a member of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, informed The Mooknayak that the 41 girls who were present during the inspection too have been relocated to a recognized government shelter home. These girls will undergo counselling.
The girls rescued by the police are being counselled by the members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). While talking to The Mooknayak, legal expert Dr. Kripashankar Choubey, a member of JJ Board and CWC, said that counselling of the girls is currently underway. This process will last for two to three days. There was no abuse of any kind with the children. We are trying to collect information on how they reached the places they were found from.
Violation of the JJ Act was revealed during the inspection of the children's home. Dr. Kripashankar Choubey said minors who are orphans or found roaming the streets must be reported to the Child Welfare Committee, as failing to do so constitutes a crime under Section 33 of the Juvenile Justice Act. Violation of this provision carries a penalty of one year of imprisonment and a fine.