NHRC notice to Government of Tamil Nadu over sexual abuse of 15 minor girls at a Shelter Home in Tiruvannamalai district (01.02.2019)
New Delhi, 1st February, 2019
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that 15 minor girls have been rescued from a Shelter Home in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu following complaints of sexual abuse against the In-Charge of the Home. The In-Charge of the Shelter Home has been arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The rescued girls have been shifted to a government facility and further investigation in the case is underway.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to violation of human rights of the victim minor girls. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including action taken against the guilty and steps taken for relief, rehabilitation and counseling of the victims.
It has also observed that this is not the single incident of its kind which has come to the notice of the Commission. In the recent past the Commission has come across several incidents of such nature, occurred in various parts of the country, where the girl inmates have been sexually abused in custody either by staff or the persons who run the Shelter Homes. The incidents of sexual abuse of innocent minor girls at the hands of their custodian, are shameful and also call for review of the monitoring mechanism by the state authorities. The police and the social welfare departments of the states have to come together to ensure strict compliance of the procedure laid down under law with regard to running Shelter Homes, especially for the women.
According to the media report, carried on the 30th January, 2019, the District Collector, reportedly visited the Home and sealed the premises. The issue came to light as some of the inmates informed the authorities about alleged sexual abuse by the accused, during a safety campaign. Reportedly, the victims have alleged in writings that the In-Charge of the Home, made them watch pornographic content before abusing them.