Three employees of Arya Anathalaya in the Walled City of Delhi have been arrested in connection with alleged sexual abuse of children inside the orphanage.
While a male inmate was caught earlier for the alleged sexual abuse of a girl, who later died under mysterious circumstances, and a minor, investigations are under way to ascertain if more persons are involved.
Orphanage security guard Navratan has been arrested for allegedly raping the 11-year-old girl who died in December. Chief warden Surender Singh Chouhan and warden Ramesh Maurya have also been arrested under Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act for alleged negligence on their part in taking action despite a complaint of sexual abuse lodged by a minor boy and his mother.
“The chief warden and the warden had thrown the mother out and beaten up the boy, threatening them not to pursue the matter. Since they were the lawful guardian of the child, the neglect on their part in taking action attracts criminal liability under the Juvenile Justice Act,” said a police officer, adding the role of other orphanage employees is also being probed.
Non-government organisation Haq, which interviewed the inmates and recorded several cases of ill-treatment and sexual abuse of the inmates following the mysterious death of the girl, had earlier this week sent an email to the Delhi High Court seeking urgent attention.
Subsequently, a Division Bench of the court, comprising Justices A.K. Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, on Wednesday issued notices to the Union and the Delhi Governments asking them to file replies to the allegations of sexual abuse of children at the orphanage located at Darya Ganj.
The police had in 2009 registered a case of sexual abuse of a six-year-old girl by a minor boy inside the orphanage. Child Welfare Committee chairpersons Raaj Mangal Prasad and Mamta Sahai had then conducted an enquiry and given several recommendations to prevent such incidents in future.
They observed that the child was sexually assaulted on the campus because safety arrangements were not adequate. They said the school building inside the complex should be segregated from the building that housed girls.
“The school has many male staff and boys in the age group of 18 also study in the same premises. There should be a guard round-the-clock at the gate,” they said, recommending immediate registration of the institution under the Juvenile Justice Act.
In its reply, the orphanage management had then claimed that necessary steps had been taken. However, subsequent findings revealed that a proper system was not in place. It claimed that both its institutions had applied long ago for registration under the Juvenile Justice Act and further action had to be taken by the Delhi Government.