‘Forced to eat dog excreta as punishment’
Shocking tales of rape and torture have emerged from an illegally-run shelter for tribal and poor children in Maharashtra’s Raigad district following which two of its officials were arrested, police said on Thursday.
Chairman of Chandraprabha Charitable Trust Ajit Dabholkar and manager Lalita Tonde were arrested on Tuesday after the children, some as young as 11, complained of being forced to have sex among themselves and also with the accused.
The shelter was running illegally at Takve village in Karjat taluka, barely 60 km from Mumbai. It had 32 inmates in the age group of four to 15. The crime came to light when one of the inmates informed her mother. She approached the Raigad Child Helpline, which alerted police.
Pune-based social worker Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe of Pune Childline, who is a complainant in the case, said the children were forced to have sex among themselves and with the accused and the act was even “filmed”. “If they resisted, the victims were forced to eat dog excreta and were locked up. If they threw up, they had to eat the vomit,” she alleged.
During preliminary investigation, Karjat police found that at least five inmates, aged between 11 and 15, had been sexually abused.
Senior Inspector of Karjat Police Station R R Patil said the Trust was running the establishment as a residential school without permission. “They don’t have any document to show that they have necessary clearances to run the establishment. It was being run illegally,” he said.
According to reports, the duo targeted poor families in the area and persuaded them to send their children to the shelter for better education. At the shelter, the children stayed for 10 months in a year and spent two months of summer vacation at home. It was during the vacation that one of the victims spoke up. The accused were produced before a magisterial court at Karjat which remanded them in police custody till June 5.
CCTV to be made compulsory
New Delhi: In the wake of the incident in Karjat, the Women and Child Development Ministry on Thursday decided that every shelter home in the country would have to install CCTV cameras. The ministry would work towards this in consultation with state governments, sources said. (ENS)
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