Three months after a seven-year-old boy from Warje Malwadi was sodomised, brutally thrashed and then abandoned near a quarry, he is now back in a corporation-run school in the area. A month after an 11-year-old girl from Lonavala was raped and suffered 40 per cent burns, she has been discharged from Sassoon Hospital and now waits for plastic surgery.
Thanks to the Pune district women and child welfare committee that sought funds within a day under the ‘Manodhairya’ scheme for these rape survivors, the victims are now back to leading normal lives.
Manodhairya scheme was launched two years ago on October 2, 2013, with the aim of providing an amount between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh to victims of rape, child abuse and acid attacks. The survivors are not only given medical treatment, but also provided legal aid, counselling and help for rehabilitation by the state government.
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Two years since the launch of the scheme, Pune district has registered as many as 216 rape cases. “Of these, 161 cases have been approved by the Women and Child Welfare Department for receiving funds under the scheme. Forty-four cases were rejected for various reasons while 11 cases are pending for further scrutiny,” Meenakshi Birajdar, Pune district women and child development officer, told The Indian Express. “Presently, funds have been disbursed only to 55 people — 36 children and 19 women,” she said.
While funds to the tune of Rs 1.68 crore from 2015-16 have yet to be received by the department, officials said immediate action is taken in extreme cases.
“Once an FIR is lodged, the case is reported to the board and we examine the details. However, in some cases, the victims are so poor, they cannot even afford being admitted to a hospital. The two cases are also so horrific that even the district collector personally intervened to ensure immediate financial aid. For instance, in the case of the seven-year-old boy who was sodomised in July, the committee members took immediate action, met district Collector Saurabh Rao, convinced the government treasury to immediately release funds and we could help treat the boy at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital,” said Sarika Patil, District Protection Officer.
The 11-year-old girl, who was raped and burnt in August, was treated at Sassoon Hospital. “In her case too, our request to provide the girl (daughter of construction labourers) with funds was immediately granted. She needed a special diet at the hospital. While the victim has been discharged, she can use the remaining amount under the scheme to undergo plastic surgery,” said Patil.