Haryana govt takes back earlier given award to Rohtak shelter
Chandigarh: The Haryana Government has withdrawn Women Empowerment Award it had conferred to Jaswanti Devi, who ran a shelter home in Rohtak that was hit by allegations of sexual abuse and torture of its inmates.
"The State Government has withdrawn the award," Social Welfare Minister Geeta Bhukkal said.
In a shocking revelation, girls at shelter home had alleged that foreigners often came and filmed them naked. The inmates told a 4-member probe team appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court that they were filmed by foreign nationals from Mumbai who lured them with good food and clothes.
In the revelation made by the inmates of Apna Ghar children’s home in Rohtak, the Haryana police officials were also accused of rape by the minor girls. The girls, recently rescued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, were forced into prostitution by their shelter in-charge Jaswanti Devi.
The government had honoured Jaswanti Devi with the Indira Gandhi Mahila Shakti award at a state-level function in Jhajjar in March. The NGO Bharat Vikas Sangh runs the scandal-hit Apna Ghar shelter home. The award carried Rs 1 lakh as cash prize and a citation.
The government, on Monday, also terminated her membership from the Juvenile Justice Board, Rohtak.
Jaswanti had also received a national award last year (2011) for helping the destitute in Haryana.
Her shelter home had landed into a controversy when a team of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) carried out a surprise raid on May 9 and rescued over 100 children and women from the house who were allegedly sexually abused in Rohtak.
During the raid it was found that the women and children at the shelter home were allegedly sexually assaulted and tortured including by police officials.
Jaswanti along with her son-in-law, daughter, brother cousin and two others have already been arrested.
She has been booked for offences under Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act 1956, Bonded Labour Act and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act and other sections of the IPC.
Geeta Bhukkal said that all the children who were lodged at the shelter home that was sealed by the authorities last week, had been shifted to another place.
The government had, on Wednesday, constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to inquire into the entire episode in which involvement of several state policemen has been alleged.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also constituted a four-member committee of lawyers to inspect various shelters in the state identifying cases of sexual abuse or torture.
Meanwhile, the Haryana police have also set up a three-member special investigation team to investigate into the allegations of sexual harassment of girl inmates of the same shelter home by cops.
(Inputs from PTI)