Orphanage sealed after children complain of abuse

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Juvenile Aid Police Unit (JAPU) of Chennai city police and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) workers have sealed an unlicenced juvenile orphanage home ‘SEERS’ (Socio-Economic Education Rehabilitation Society) at Sathyamurthy Nagar in Vyasarpadi on Monday, and all the 18 juveniles were shifted to other juvenile care homes. According to the police, the director of the juvenile home Kalyanasundaram, who had been running the unit since 2000, escaped. 

“About 23 juveniles stayed in the home, and during the coronavirus pandemic, five of them returned to their parents’ home, while the others continued to stay in here. Two girls were studying in a college, two others studying in Class 12 and few others were studying in Classes 10, 9, 7 and 5,” said a police officer.

One of the girls staying in the home informed the ‘1098’ child helpline that the director, his brother, son and few more in his family had been sexually abusing the girls who stayed there, especially during the pandemic lockdown. 

Based on the tip, the police team from the JAPU-II unit, led by the deputy commissioner of police of Crime against Women and Children, H Jayalakshmi, conducted a raid along with CWC officials. According to the police, during questioning, girls told them about the harrowing experience while staying in the orphanage. 

Following this, the police team checked Kalyanasundaram’s residence only to find that he had escaped. Police said, his brother used to drive an auto rickshaw that belongs to the orphanage to transport juveniles from the home to school. The girls had alleged that the man sexually abused a few girls while transporting them. A police officer said, “We have recorded the statements from each one of the girls staying there.

We are enquiring people including Kalyanasundaram’s brother, son and few others.” The girls will be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) officials and later shifted permanently to the other government-run orphanage homes.