Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

Bal Niketan residents resist UT attempt to shift them out

At Bal Niketan in Sector 15, Chandigarh, on Thursday. (Sumit Malhotra) At Bal Niketan in Sector 15, Chandigarh, on Thursday. (Sumit Malhotra)
Express News Service | Chandigarh | Posted: April 25, 2014 4:24 am | Updated: April 25, 2014 4:26 am

The UT Administration’s plan to shift 15 residents of Bal Niketan to Snehalaya children’s home at Maloya village “for security reasons’’ flopped when the girls refused to move out on Wednesday night.

While a team of Snehalaya officials waited to take them away, the girls said they could not be shifted against their wish, and one of them even threatened to harm herself. They shut themselves in a dormitory and came out only when allowed to speak to their parents and guardians.

Amar Kulwant Singh, honorary secretary of the Bal Niketan Society, said, “The students did not want to go. They created a ruckus for staying back in here.”

In the face of the girls’ unyielding resistance, the Snehalaya officials had to go back.

Singh said that in the afternoon, she received a call from Director of Social Welfare Rajesh Jogpal that 15 inmates who had deposed before the police in the case of alleged sexual harassment against dismissed supervisor Manish Kumar were to be moved to Snehalaya for security reasons.

“When the team of Snehalaya officials arrived, I called all the eight girls, as seven of them had already left the home to live with their parents,’’ Singh added.

Two of the girls who were to be transferred were adults and said that they could not be sent forcibly. “One of the girls even threatened to harm herself if she was shifted to Snehalaya,’’ said the honorary secretary.

The eight girls went to the honorary secretary’s office and demanded to speak to their parents and guardians. When the Snehalaya officials said they could do this after moving to Snehalaya, a heated argument ensued.

The eight girls gathered all the residents in one dormitory and bolted the door from inside. They left a note on the door that they would not open the door until they were allowed to speak to their parents and guardians. On the note, the girls also mentioned the numbers of their parents.

Giving up after nearly three hours, the Snehalaya officials returned. The girls then came out of the dormitory one by one to make calls to their parents. Many of them were taken away by their parents.

Out of 40 residents, only 13 are now left in the home. Also, only three of the 13 complainants are now staying in the home as they are orphans and have nowhere to go.

Warden Manjeet Kaur, who was mentioned for negligence in the inquiry report, has been missing for the last two days. Amar Kulwant Singh said she left the home without informing anyone on Tuesday morning.

Main complainant records statement

After three days, some of the residents attended school on Thursday. After returning from the school, they informed the honorary secretary that the main complainant against Manish Kumar, whose statement had not yet been recorded as she had left the home a few days continued…

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