VANDANA Chavan, MP, will be investigating the alleged wrong practices in the observation homes in Pune district. Chavan, who is in Delhi for the monsoon session of Parliament, held a meeting with Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, and brought to her notice the “horrific incidents” of sexual abuse in the observation homes in Pune.
During the meeting, Gandhi urged Chavan to visit and oversee the functioning of the observation homes along with the District Child Welfare Officer. Gandhi handed over a letter to Chavan in this regard.
In the letter, Gandhi asked Chavan “to take charge of overseeing all these observation homes and give a regular report, particularly on the Shivajinagar remand home, where a report has come for the second time about sexual abuse, with children forced to watch blue films and misuse of e-library facilities”.
Following a complaint filed at the Shivajinagar police station, The Indian Express had reported in May this year how officials and staffers at the observation home in Shivajinagar, between January 1, 2010 and December 12, 2015, allegedly forced minor orphans to watch blue films in the “e-learning” hall and clean toilets and drainage lines.
Vilas Pandare (42), secretary and manager of Balakashram, an orphanage in Ambegaon run by the Sahyadri Adivasi Gramin Vikas Pratishthan in Manchar, had lodged an FIR with the Ghodegaon police station of Pune rural police on May 11. The case has been transferred to the Shivajinagar police station in Pune city for further investigation.
The complainant alleged authorities in the Shivajinagar home not only ignored complaints of sexual assault made by some of the minor boys against other boys living at the observation home, but they encouraged the latter to continue to assault the victims.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Chavan said, “Union minister Maneka Gandhi responded immediately… The reports of sexual abuse and other problems in observation homes are of serious nature. We will be looking into this matter after the monsoon session is over on August 11.”
Congress MLC Anant Gadgil too has raised the issue in the legislative council.