There is a ray of hope for 10 girls who were asked to vacate their rented apartment in a Mumbai suburb on account of being daughters of sex workers. After “no substantial outcome of the promises” made to them from various quarters, state Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) Varsha Gaikwad has offered to meet the members of the NGO that funds the girls’ education.
“I am slated to meet Robin Chaurasiya (co-founder of NGO Kranti) on Tuesday around 11 am. As I am unaware of the current state of affairs, it is better to meet them and look at possible solutions,” Gaikwad confirmed.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that the residents of Akurli Om Housing Society in Kandivali had decided not to renew the rent agreement of the girls.
The minister said the state policy for women offers rights to women and their background cannot pose a hurdle in them wanting to reside at a particular place.
“The question cannot be where they want to reside, however, if their (girls) behaviour offends someone, it can be modified,” said Gaikwad.
The owner of the three-bedroom apartment in which the girls were living had earlier claimed that the housing society conveyed to him several complaints from the members about the girls’ behaviour.
Chaurasiya, on Monday, said that on May 10, the NGO decided to buy a house worth Rs 3.37 crore and the owner agreed with them paying a 40 per cent down payment. “We met former MP Priya Dutt and she said that she would call the owner. Her office has been sending a lot of useful information on government schemes for shelter homes, but none are feasible in the next 15 days,” said Chaurasiya.
In the meantime, Chaurasiya said, potential funders from the corporate sector approached Kranti. “Someone committed to pay Rs 25 lakh, also promising to help raise the 40 percent down payment, but after a few days they backed out,” she alleged.
Kranti members said that between May 18 and 22, they have continued hunting for a new home for the girls. “The ordeal, however, has continued after being rejected by owners of around 50 bungalows,” they said.
Of the 10 girls, five – aged between 14 years and 19 years – go to schools in the vicinity of their apartment, and four others are enrolled in long-distance courses and study from home. Three woman staffers of NGO Kranti also stay with them.
The girls were earlier asked to vacate the flat by May 1, however, their rent agreement was extended till June 10.
Kranti earlier faced difficulty in obtaining passports for the girls, including one for Shweta Katti (19), who moved to New York in August, 2013. Katti is studying at Bard University in New York.
According to Chaurasiya, earlier, people were unaware about the girls’ backgrounds, but things got difficult after they realised that the girls are from
Kamathipura. “After facing disappointment from all centres, we are pinning our hopes on tomorrow’s meeting with the minister,” he said.