At least 13 girls, all believed to be minors and rescued from a red light area in Allahabad, escaped from an observation home in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. A formal complaint has been lodged and efforts are on to trace them, the police said.
Pratapgarh District Probation Officer Pankaj Mishra said 14 girls had been rescued in an operation against illegal trafficking from Meerganj red light area some time ago. Based on an order by the Child Welfare Committee they were put up at an observation home, run by an NGO, Pandit Girija Prasad Samajik Sewa Evam Shiksha Sansthan, on December 20.
“As per the woman homeguard at the home, at least 13 of them rendered her unconscious and then broke through the grill of the main gate. A formal complaint with the Kotwali police has been lodged,” said Mishra. Inspector (Kotwali), Baliram Mishra, said as of now a missing report has been lodged.
Circle Officer (City) M P Salonia said the homeguard’s version appeared to be doubtful. “She gave the information around 7 am. The girls are supposed to have fled between 4 am and 5 am. It is possible that she went off to sleep,” he said.
Mishra said the girls had claimed to be aged between 18 to 22, but the NGO had told the CWC that they were minors. “The CWC had then ordered to put them up at Pratapgarh observation home till their age-related tests were done,” said Mishra.
A few days ago, the inmates had staged protests within the observation home refusing to eat food, while demanding that they be produced before the court so that they could tell the court that they were majors.