MADURAI: The Madras High Court has directed an Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) to investigate into allegations of sexual harassment of women inmates of a home for the destitute administered by the Akshaya Trust in Madurai. The NGO was founded by award-winning social worker Narayanan Krishnan, who gave up a career as a chef to take care of the destitute including the mentally ill.
A division bench comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and V M Velumani ordered the inquiry while hearing a petition filed by the AIDWA, Madurai unit president C Muthurani, who also claimed that there was reason to suspect illegal organ trade at the home.
Besides directing ASP Shyamala Devi to investigate the allegations, the court appointed a lawyer D Geetha as advocate commissioner to inspect and submit a report on activities and facilities of the home on June 23.
According to Muthurani, on June 5 a nude woman ran out of the home. She was rescued by some women who were working in the vicinity. When they questioned, she alleged that some employees of the home were sexually abusing the inmates.
Following this a case was registered at the Samayanallur All Women Police Station and the woman’s statement was obtained. Yet no action was taken. Muthurani said the woman had claimed that many inmates had died in a suspicious manner in the recent past and hence she apprehended the possibility of illegal organ trade.
The AIDWA had taken up the issue with the Madurai Collector but he had rejected the evidence of the woman saying she was mentally ill and hence her statements cannot be relied upon. The Collector had also given a clean chit to the home.
But, petitioner’s counsel Nirmala Rani said the home was an unlicensed one.
The Akshaya Trust website mentioned that the home was started in May 2013 and 450 persons including the sick, elderly, homeless and mentally ill were rescued by its volunteers in the past five months. All of them were lodged at the unregistered home.
Therefore, she pleaded for a fair probe into the functioning of the home.