The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the city government after several teenage girl inmates of a shelter home in west Delhi accused some staff members of molesting and injecting them with drugs. The girls have also alleged that they were beaten up if they tried resisting and were also not provided sanitary napkins. Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the NHRC has issued the notices to the Delhi chief secretary and the commissioner of the Delhi Police, and sought a detailed report within four weeks, the Commission today said. According to the media report, the victims were given some substance similar to oxytocin hormone which stimulates physical growth in pre-pubescent girls. “Most of the girls are either rape survivors or have been rescued from the city’s streets, clutches of human traffickers and brothels. One of the girls has alleged that she was not given food for days as a punishment because she had accused one of the staff members of torturing her,” the NHRC said, quoting the report.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, are “disgusting” and indicative of “gross negligence” on the part of the Department of Social Welfare of the Delhi government. The shelter houses are supposed to provide a safe and secure environment to its inmates along with skill training so that they could earn a living after leaving it, the NHRC said. “Such a barbaric treatment meted out to young and teenage girls in a shelter home is the worst example of violation of human rights. The right to life and dignity of the victims have been grossly violated,” the Commission said.
According to the media report carried yesterday, the Delhi Legal Services Authority received several complaints from the victims and they alerted the Delhi Commission for Women. “An FIR had been reportedly registered on the April 17, charging the officials with criminal intimidation, causing harm by poisoning, criminal conspiracy under relevant sections of laws including the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act. Reportedly, no officer from the Social Welfare Department wished to come on record,” the NHRC said. Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal has already summoned the director of the Women and Child Development Department of the Delhi government and sought an action taken report in this matter.
The police has registered a case on the basis of a complaint by the women’s panel chief in which it has been alleged that this had been happening for the last two years. In the complaint given on behalf of 20-25 girls, it has been alleged that they were not fed proper food and were made to work quite hard. If they didn’t finish the work on time, they were beaten up. They have also claimed that the conditions they lived were quite “unhygienic” and they were administered injections that brought about “premature growth”, the police said.