BENGALURU: Incidents of sexual and verbal abuse and exploitation of minor girls in Samrakshana Anatha Ashrama in Kengeri Upanagara, run by Jadugar Jagannath, has shocked the conscience of the court, the Karnataka High Court said on Monday. The court directed the state government to submit a report on the CID investigation into the case, within three weeks, and the report be placed in a sealed cover.
Issuing interim directions in its order dated November 28, the division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Mohammad Nawaz directed the state to submit the report of investigation by Siddapura police with regard to alleged lapses on the part of police, also within three weeks. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Karnataka State Legal Services Authority on the shocking exploitation and victimisation of eight minor girls in Samrakshana Anatha Ashrama. The girls were rescued on March 28, 2019.
The bench said facts were revealed by this petition regarding verbal and sexual abuse and torture of the children, and also showed that the police machinery and machinery created by the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, had not shown the sensitivity expected of them. The district child protection officer had submitted a report dated April 5, 2019, to the High Court, which had shocked the court.
The report said children complained that they were not being fed properly, and were beaten and tortured by Jadugar Jagannath, besides being subjected to verbal and sexual abuse. Shockingly, although there were minor girls, there was no women staff in the institution, and no records were maintained. The report also described ashram’s condition as poor: Rooms and toilets were dirty; there was accumulation of garbage, smelly and spoilt food in the kitchen, spoilt fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, bread was covered in fungus, there were no CCTV cameras, there were no medical facilities or basic amenities.
“Prima facie, it is found that medical reports of all the girls contain superficial assessment. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC)-2 should direct proper medical examination of the seven girls,” the bench said, directing regular counselling of the children. It may be noted that on March 29, 2019, a few men came in two cars to the ashram and enquired about the rescued girls.
They reportedly said they were from Crime Branch, CBI, but could not produce identity cards. They also said that the children had been kidnapped and brought to the home. The police are probing this issue also, following directions by the court.
State has no time
The high court noted: “The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act came into force on January 15, 2016. Though more than three and half years have lapsed, the state government has not found time to frame rules as contemplated by Section 110 of JJ Act.”