‘We could not provide help to rape victims in Chincholi, Afzalpur taluks owing to this’

Director of the Gulbarga Childline, helpline (call 1098) and 24-hour emergency outreach service for children, K.S. Bagale and coordinator Vijayalakshmi Melkundi have expressed their limitations in protecting children from exploitation and helping those in distress.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Prof. Bagale, who is also principal of the Seth Shankarlal Lahoti Law College, where the Childline nodal centre is located, and Ms. Melkundi said that they could not provide help to rape victims in Chincholi and Afzalpur taluks owing to various factors, including the fact that they had only nine volunteers.

Presspersons said that there was no help from the centre when a minor girl who was raped near Karajagi village in Afzalpur taluk and when two rape victims from Jewargi were refused medical treatment at the Government General Hospital in Gulbarga city in January this year.

Both Prof. Bagale and Ms. Melkundi did not have convincing answers on why a rape victim from Chincholi who was first spotted by Childline volunteers at the Wadi Railway Station was not handed over to the police for medical treatment and instead, why the child was allowed to be taken to a private hospital in Solapur in Maharashtra by her relatives in December last year.

Ms. Melkundi said that it was only after the Childline volunteers alerted the district police that a team was sent to Solapur to escort the child back to Gulbarga and admit the victim in the Government General hospital.

The Childline coordinates with the government departments to rescue children in distress and rehabilitates them or reunites them with their parents. Prof. Bagale said that since 2009 when Childline was first constituted in Gulbarga, the centre had received 296 cases of child abuse and exploitation. He said that 119 runaway children were rescued and reunited with their parents. Another 63 orphaned children found on the streets were rescued and admitted in the State homes for rehabilitation.

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