In an effort to address the issue of sexual assault in shelter homes, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday directed officials to set up a safety mechanism to enable women and children at shelter homes to reach out to them for help.
“Deeply anguished by the incident of sexual assault on minor girls at a Muzaffarpur Shelter Home, I have directed ministry officers to put in place a mechanism so that the women and children at all such institutions are able to reach out to us for help,” the minister said in a tweet.
The minister’s direction came days after the alleged sexual assault of 34 minor girls at a shelter home run by an NGO in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur came to light.
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The victims at the shelter home for destitute girls were allegedly sexually abused with medical reports confirming rape of them.
“I also urge each citizen to be vigilant and flag any such case of harassment against women and children by calling on the two numbers. You can also mail the details at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet with #HelpMeWCD,” she tweeted.
A telephone would be made accessible to the shelter home inmates so that they can call either 1098 or 181 for help, Maneka said.
She also said posters in local languages will be put up at all shelter homes, housing women and children, so that they can call up Childline-1098 or Women Helpline-181, if they face any form of harassment.
The case was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai, to the Bihar Social Welfare Department in April.
The FIR in the case was filed on May 31 against 11 people, including Brajesh Thakur, the owner of the NGO.
On July 26, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recommended a CBI probe into the case.