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BJP demands judicial probe into Chhattisgarh shelter home case


RAIPUR: The BJP on Sunday demanded a judicial inquiry into allegations of physical and sexual abuse of women inmates of a shelter home in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district.

The manager of the shelter home, run by an NGO and aided by government, was arrested on January 21 for allegedly raping an inmate, while three other staffers were held on Saturday on charges of physically assaulting women living at the facility.

"An impartial investigation into the allegations is possible only when a judicial panel will be set up to conduct a probe into it as the role of police is already in question in the case," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Dharamlal Kaushik told PTI.

Hitting out at the ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh, the BJP leader said it is a "very shameful situation" that sexual and physical exploitation of women is taking place in a shelter home monitored by the state government.

"The inmates have made revelations before a magistrate that the women who were staying there were not only subjected to sexual harassment, but were also sent out for prostitution. They were also brutally thrashed and stripped and locked in a room there," Kaushik claimed.

He demanded that the state government constitute a judicial commission for a probe into the case.

Kaushik said the role of police in the case should also be investigated as the victims have alleged that when they went to a police station for registering complaint of sexual abuse, the police did not take cognisance of it.

The case against Ujjawala Home, operated by NGO Shri Shivmangal Shikshan Samiti, came to light on January 17 when some of its staff members allegedly did not allow a 20-year- old woman to leave the facility when her husband came to take her back home.

The man then forcibly took his wife and reached Sarkanda police station where they lodged a case of wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt and obscene acts against the shelter home staff.

Two other women inmates also went the police station and alleged physical and mental abuse of women at the shelter.

They were also made complainants in the case, a police official earlier said.

On January 19, the women complainants approached the media, alleging that one of them was sexually assaulted by the shelter home's manager and other inmates were physically tortured by the staff.

The complainants recorded their statement before a magistrate on January 21 following which the shelter home's manager was arrested, the police said.

Later, another woman also alleged that she and other inmates were physically assaulted by the shelter home staff.

The police subsequently apprehended three women staff members on Saturday, a police official said.

A government official said the shelter home has been closed and seven of its inmates have been shifted to their homes and other government facilities.